How Do California Dog Bite Lawsuits Work?

Getting bitten by a dog can be a traumatic experience when most people trust animals and have positive experiences with them. States throughout the country have varying laws about how to deal with a dog bite accident after it occurs. In California, you may recover compensation for any injuries you suffer from a dog bite.

California dog bite lawsuits image for article 3333If you believe someone else is responsible for your dog bite injury, a personal injury lawyer in San Diego can investigate your case and use the details from your accident to determine who’s at fault. You can likely sue the dog owner for strict liability or for negligence as long as you have evidence to prove your case in court.

Strict Liability for Dog Owners


California’s law regarding dog bites says that dog owners are strictly liable for any injuries their dog inflicts if the injuries are caused by a dog bite. While some states give dog owners a one-bite rule where dog owners aren’t responsible for a dog bite injury if they didn’t know their dog had the potential to be violent, California has no such leniency.


In Oklahoma, a state that also has strict liability when it comes to dog bites, victims can seek dog bite legal help and sue the dog owner.

Regardless of whether a dog owner knew their dog had the potential to be violent, the victim can sue the dog owner for any damages suffered after a dog bite accident.

Exceptions to Strict Liability

The exception to the strict liability law in California regarding dog bites is that dog owners aren’t necessarily liable if the injury wasn’t directly caused by the dog bite. For example, if a dog bites the tires of a bicycle and then the bicyclist is injured by wrecking their bike, then the injured bicyclist can sue the dog owner, but they must prove negligence using evidence.

California Dangerous Dog Laws

There’s another California law that requires dog owners to take reasonable steps to prevent future attacks from occurring if a dog has bitten someone in the past. If a dog owner is sued because their dog has bitten someone more than once or has seriously injured someone on a first attack, then the court may order the dog owner to remove the dog from the area or destroy the dog.

The court may also order a dog owner to control a dangerous dog by keeping the dog inside, fencing the property to keep the dog in and children out, and leashing the dog when leaving the property.

Pressing Criminal Charges for Dog Bites

If a dog owner knows their dog is potentially mischievous or dangerous, doesn’t contain the dog, and the dog injures or kills someone, then the dog owner may face criminal charges in addition to civil charges. A dog bite death can be a felony for the dog owner, and a dog bite injury could be a felony or a misdemeanor.

If you’ve been injured by a dog and you weren’t trespassing when the injury occurred, then you have the right to obtain a settlement for your injuries. Speaking to an experienced attorney can ease the stress of filing a claim.


Interesting related article: “The pros and cons of an office dog.”