COVID-19 UPDATE: We are open! Our team is working and offering consultations via phone, e-mail, and video conferencing.

California Dog Bite Liability Law

The McClellan Law Firm

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!