California Dog Bite Laws

Our attorneys have been assisting the Orange County and Southern California communities for over 40 years.

Request free consultation

California Dog Bite Laws

Request free consultation
Posted By DAM Firm | June 6 2022 | Personal Injury

Dogs can be our best friends, but they can also inflict serious injuries. Anytime a person sustains a dog bite injury caused by another person’s dog, they should be able to recover compensation for their losses. In fact, there are specific laws in California regarding dog bite situations. Here, we want to review California’s dog bite laws and look at the time frame for how long you have to file these claims.

How California’s Strict Liability Dog Bite Law Works

The vast majority of injuries that occur that are caused by the negligent actions of other individuals are not considered strict liability claims. Typically, individuals have to prove that the other party was negligent in order to recover compensation. However, that is not the case for dog bites.

The state of California follows a strict liability dog bite law (Civil Code Section 3342). This means that a dog owner will be held responsible for any entries caused by their dog biting someone else, regardless of how minor or severe the injury is. The dog bite victim does not even have to prove that the dog owner was negligent or that the dog had previously bitten someone before we’ve shown a propensity for aggression in the past. When a dog bites another individual, this is typically enough for a claim to be valid, as long as the bite victim was lawfully in a public place or private location when the bite occurred.

Other states around the country use a “one bite” rule, which means that a dog bite victim can only recover compensation if the dog has bitten somebody in the past. That is not the case in California.

Time Limit to File a Dog Bite Claim in California

Individuals who sustain a dog bite injury need to know that they have a limited amount of time to file these claims in court. The personal injury statute of limitations in California is two years from the date an injury occurs. This means that dog bite victims have a two-year window with which to file a lawsuit against the dog’s owner. Failing to file a claim within this two-year timeframe will mean that the dog bite victim becomes unable to recover the compensation they are entitled to, no matter how severe the injuries are.

Who Ends Up Paying for a Dog Bite Injury?

In the state of California, dog owners are responsible for paying compensation to dog bite victims if the strict liability claim is successful. However, the vast majority of dog bite injury claims are resolved through settlements with insurance carriers. Typically, homeowners insurance will cover dog bite injury incidents, but that is not going to help if a person does not own a home and does not have homeowners insurance. In some cases, individuals have renter’s insurance that they can use to pay compensation if their dog bites somebody else.

If a dog owner does not have an insurance policy under which a victim can pursue compensation, the dog bite victim may have to file a personal injury lawsuit directly against the dog owner and seek compensation from the owner’s personal assets.

There may be various types of compensation available in these situations. This includes, but is not limited to, coverage of all medical bills related to the dog bite, lost wages if a person cannot work while they recover, and various types of physical or emotional pain and suffering losses.

Request Free Consultation

  • *required fields