Who Is Liable for a Dog Bite Injury in California?

Being attacked by a dog and suffering a resulting injury due to a dog bite is a traumatizing, painful experience. Dogs are powerful animals, and when they bite, they can inflict serious damage to the body. The vast majority of animal bites that occur in the United States are inflicted by dogs, and more dog bites occur in California than in any other state.

Once you have received medical attention to address an injury caused by a dog bite, you might be wondering who is liable for a dog bite injury in California. While an animal itself cannot be held liable for the injuries that it inflicts, in California, the dog’s owner can be held liable for dog bite injuries.

Strict liability

California is a strict-liability state when it comes to dog bite injuries. This means that the dog’s owner is directly responsible. After a dog bites someone, even if it does not have a history of biting people or of aggressive behavior, that dog’s owner is still fully responsible for the injury. Strict liability means that there are not any gray areas in terms of this rule. 

Other states have a one-bite rule in place. This means that an owner is not liable for a dog bite injury unless the dog was known to have bitten someone before. But because California is a strict-liability state regarding dog bites, owners are still liable whether or not a dog has bitten anyone previously. 

Dog owners’ responsibility

Dog owners are held liable for bite injuries whether or not the owner acted negligently. Still, there are some conditions that must be met in order for a dog bite case in California to be valid. The victim of the bite cannot have provoked the animal. The victim cannot have been trespassing when the bite occurred, and the dog must also not be part of law enforcement or military operations.

If these conditions are met, dog bite victims can still recover compensation for their injuries. 

Insurance coverage and landlord responsibility

Medical bills resulting from a dog bite injury can be covered by homeowner’s insurance in many cases. But even when coverage compensates victims for such bills, the monetary amount provided often will not cover every loss. 

Policy limits can mean that only a certain amount of money is offered, and intangible losses are often not compensated. Seeking the assistance of a California dog bite injury attorney can help to make sure that you are appropriately compensated for your injuries and traumatic experience. 

Landlords can also be held liable for dogs that cause injuries. If a dog bite occurs on a commercial or residential property that a landlord oversees, and if the landlord knew that the biting dog had a history of vicious behavior, liability can fall on the landlord as well. Landlords are expected to act with reasonable care to remove the threat of dangerous conditions, which could include a dog that is prone to bite.

We can handle your dog bite injury case

If you’ve been bitten by a dog in California, the expert legal team at Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers wants to help you. While we handle many types of claims, we’ve helped our clients to pursue and receive the compensation that they deserve following an injury caused by a dog bite. As leading California dog bite injury attorneys, our team has the compassion, care, and dedication needed to see your case through to fair compensation.   

We’d be glad to answer questions and to hear more about your case when you contact us. We also offer a free case evaluation so that you can easily find out more about your case and how we can help. 


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