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Dog bites and breed stereotypes: Can you sue in California?

On Behalf of | May 17, 2024 | Dog Bites

Suppose you’ve been bitten by a typically non-aggressive dog in California. In that case, you might be worried that you may not qualify to pursue a personal injury claim.

Thankfully, California’s dog bite laws have been drafted in favor of dog bite victims. By exploring the legal landscape surrounding dog bites in the Golden State, you can determine if the breed of the dog that bit you will impact your ability to pursue compensation.

California’s strict liability dog bite laws

Unlike many states that require proof of negligence on the part of the dog owner, the Golden State follows a strict liability rule for dog bites. The owner of the dog is liable for your injuries, regardless of the dog’s breed or past behavior, as long as the bite occurred in a public place or while you were lawfully present on private property.

  • Strict liability: The dog owner is required to cater for all damages caused by the bite, even if it’s the first time the dog has exhibited aggression.
  • Location: Whether the dog bit you in a public place or on private property, you can pursue compensation. There are limited exceptions, such as trespassing.
  • Severity of bite: The law applies to any dog bite, even if it doesn’t break the skin.

This strict liability approach helps ensure that dog bite victims receive compensation for their injuries, regardless of the breed or prior behavior of the dog.

A dog bite can be traumatic, and state law recognizes the potential for serious injury, regardless of a dog’s breed. If you’ve been bitten by a dog in the Golden State, seek medical attention immediately, report the bite and consult with a reliable legal team to understand your rights and options.