California Dog Bite Liability Law

Posted By The McClellan Law Firm || Oct 24, 2014

Each day, 1,000 different people in the United States are brought to the emergency room for dog bite related injuries. As a result of the prevalence of dog bite injuries, California law uses a policy of strict liability when it comes to these accidents. Strict liability states that a dog owner can be held liable if their dog injures another person, whether or not that dog had previously indicated that they were dangerous. This means that dog bites can be the fault of the owner even if they did not do anything wrong.

Holding the Dog Owner Liable For a Dog Bite

The California Civil Code states that a person bitten by a dog in a public place or when they are lawfully in a private place can hold the dog owner liable. Liability does not mean that the dog's owner did anything wrong, only that they can be held accountable.

If a dog in California bites someone, the victim can bring the dog owner to court and potential obtain compensation if they can prove four main factors.

Proving liability can be done by showing:

  1. The person's injuries were caused by a dog
  2. The defendant is the owner of the dog that caused the injury
  3. The victim did not do anything out of the ordinary that would have caused the dog to react in such a way
  4. The victim was in a space they had a right to be and was not trespassing on private property

California law used to mandate that the dog's owner must have known that their dog was a risk in order to be held liable for their dog. This resulted in many unsuccessful claims for compensation, however, the laws have now been changed.

If you or a loved one have been injured by a dog bite in California, contact an attorney at The McClellan Law Firm right away. We give each case the personal attention it needs for success, and can help you obtain compensation for your injuries!

Categories: Dog Bites
Blog Home

Testimonials

  • “We wouldn’t be here, in this moment of life without the kindness and professionalism of you all and how you went to bat for us! Eternally grateful!”

    - A.K.

  • “It was a real honor to preside over a case with you as counsel. In my mind you represent all that is good in our profession.”

    - Judge J.

  • “I thank you for your kindness and generosity in giving selflessly without reserve. Additionally, please extend my thanks to your staff for their diligent work and encouragement throughout the trial.”

    - A.D.

  • “Immediately after our interview we knew without question that no matter how steep the mountain, win or lose, we had found the right person—Craig McClellan, Esq.—[…] We felt a profound sense of peacefulness whenever we came into the office, and we knew that you were protecting our interests at all time.”

    - G.P.

  • “I just wanted to thank you for your efforts on [Pam’s] behalf, your skills, and your heart. You are not just a lawyer in what you do, you are a master of your profession. And I hope you are passing your mastery to others who may stand in on behalf of the weak or the helpless. It is an honorable effort and a world of mercy. I saw the extreme and extended dedication you put forth yield the best possible results on [Pam’s] behalf.”

    - Juror

View More

Our Awards & Accolades