What is the California Dog Bite Law?

San Diego Dog Bite Attorney on the Rights of Victims After Dog Attacks

San Diego dog bite attorney explains California dog bite law and rights of attack victimsUnder California dog bite law, a dog may be isolated and observed for rabies, declared potentially dangerous or declared vicious after an attack. This means the owner is now under court orders to follow certain restrictions to avoid losing custody, including confining the dog in a stricter way, paying a fine or even serving jail time.

After an attack, many victims are afraid to report dog bite cases for fear that something will happen to the animal. This is often not the case. Being euthanized is not the first resort after a dog attack, as the court will consider the dog’s previous attack history and severity of the attack before making a ruling.

Any dog bite can be an extremely serious case—San Diego dog bite attorney Bonnici Law Group has experience with dog bites resulting is severe injuries and facial disfigurement, requiring hospitalization and multiple surgeries. Do not let fear of what may happen limit your ability to hold a negligent dog owner accountable by filing a dog bite lawsuit for allowing a dog to harm you or someone you love.

You deserve justice after a serious dog bite. Our law firm will work to the best of its abilities by providing personalized attention to you and your dog bite claim every step of the way.

Is There a One Bite Rule Under California Dog Bite Law?

Contrary to popular belief, there is no “one free bite rule” in California that protects dog owners from liability regarding a dog attack if their dog has not previously bitten or attacked someone. In fact, California Civil Code Section 3342(a) was enacted specifically to enable dog bite victims to hold dog owners and other at-fault parties responsible for damages.

According to Civil Code Section 3342, dog owners are strictly liable for damages and injuries suffered by a person bitten by their dog. Strict liability means that victims do not have to prove that the dog owner’s negligence led to the attack as long as:

  • The attack occurred while the victim was lawfully in a private or public place
  • The dog was not on duty for the police or military at the time of the attack

If the person responsible for the dog was not the dog’s official owner, then the victim may need to prove that person was negligent. An investigation can prove negligence. This may include finding the dog’s previous history and the responsible party’s knowledge of the dog. It is important to promptly ad thoroughly investigate in order to obtain the necessary evidence.

What Types of Injures Does Dog Bite Law in California Cover?

Dog attacks are far more serious than many people realize and can be life-altering. Any injury inflicted as a result of a dog bite will fall under the strict liability of the dog owner. These injuries include:

  • Facial disfiguration
  • Long-lasting scars
  • Broken bones
  • Cuts and bruises
  • Tissue loss
  • Rabies and other infections
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder

California dog bite law provides options for victims of dog attacks and their families to get the help they need. This includes obtaining compensation for:

  • Hospital bills and surgical bills
  • Rehabilitation and physical therapy expenses
  • Lost wages if the victim cannot work due to the injuries
  • Long-term care expenses if the victim is physically disabled as a result of the attack
  • Funeral expenses if the attack proves fatal

Learn more about what dog bite compensation may be available to victims here.

Dog Bite Law in California Covers Pets Hurt by Another Dog

California law also protects your pets if they are attacked by a dog. Some insurance adjusters may try to limit payment for veterinary bills. They may claim their liability is limited to the cost of the pet. (They may compare it to their liability for damage to a car and claim your pet is “only property”).

However, California law recognizes how important pets are to their owners. Courts have allowed owners to recover all reasonable veterinary bills for their pets. This is often true even if the bills are much more than the cost of the pet. If your pet was badly hurt and an insurance company refuses to pay for its medical care, then contact an experienced attorney who understands California law related to dog attacks.

Need a San Diego Dog Bite Lawyer?

To learn more about your rights and options under California dog bite law if you or a family member was the victim of a dog attack, call us to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with San Diego dog bite lawyer Bonnici Law Group today.