California Dog Bite Laws – What You Should Know

California has a high number of animal attacks and dog bites even if there are laws put in place that deal with such situations. Suffering from a dog bite injury is a traumatic experience not to mention the costly treatment. Protect your legal rights and contact an expert Los Angeles Dog Bite Injury Lawyers to also help maximize your compensation.  

Los Angeles dog bite injury lawyers

Civil Court Standards – Filing a Claim

If you suffer dog bite injuries and decided to file a claim you need to prove the following based on the civil court standards. Proving all of these elements may possibly entitle you to recover monetary damages. 

  • The defendant is the owner of the dog that apparently bit the victim
  • The dog bit the victim while in a public place or lawfully on someone else’s property
  • The victim suffered harm
  • The pet owner’s dog was a considerable factor in causing the harm

Strict Liability

California is a strict liability state which means the injured victim doesn’t have to prove the negligence of the dog owner to recover damages. Essentially, if the dog bites someone, the dog owner becomes responsible for damages:

  • Regardless if the dog already bit someone in the past
  • Regardless if the dog owner took rational precautions to consider that his pet could be harmful   
  • Regardless if the pet owner took appropriate measures to prevent dog bites

The dog owner becomes responsible for the injuries the victim incurred the moment he or she takes possession of the particular canine. 

Challenges in a Dog Bite Lawsuit

There are underlying reasons why a dog attacks and bites. The defendant and insurance companies will not give up the case without a fight. They will think of reasons why the animal attacked and bit the victim. It includes:

  • The victim trespasses a private property and was attacked by the animal 
  • The victim provoked the dog, prompting the animal to attack and bite
  • The victim sustained injuries from his or her employer’s dog while at work
  • The dog bit the victim while he was doing a paid service 

Los Angeles Dog Bite Injury Lawyers: When the Dog Attacked But Didn’t Bite

Under California dog bite law, a dog owner is still liable even if his or her dog didn’t bite or pierce the skin provided that the victim incur bruises or suffered nerve damage. The dog owner may not be responsible under strict liability. However, he might be, under negligence.


A dog owner or the animal’s keeper can be likewise held liable for dog bite injuries if they are reckless in handling the dog during the time of the attack. If the victim can demonstrate the owner or dog keeper’s lack of control, he or she is eligible to get compensation.

Some dogs might appear calm but may become dangerous depending on the situation. If the owner or keeper of the animal doesn’t put the dog on a leash and knocks on a person and causes him injuries, the owner or keeper is negligent under California dog bite law. 

Dog Categorizations in California Dog Bite Lawsuits

Several dog bite attacks in California involve dogs that bit people before. If that is your case, the pet owner might face criminal liability if the particular animal has already a record of biting in the past. Based on California Dog Bite law:


A dog may be categorized as vicious if it injured or killed a person severely even once. The same category applies if it attacked another animal or someone more than twice in the past three weeks.

Possibly Dangerous

The animal is said to be possibly dangerous if it attacked an individual or animal twice in a three-year period. Likewise, a dog becomes possibly dangerous if it bit someone once, resulting in minor injuries.

Dog Bite Damages that You Might Recover

Dog bite injuries can lead to major physical trauma and emotional trauma. Some victims will require expensive treatment, including surgeries and medications. Here are the different types of damages you may recover if you’re a victim of a dog bite injury. 

  • Medical bills (hospitalization, doctor bills, surgery, therapy, rehabilitation, follow-up care)
  • Lost wages and income
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Property damages
  • Loss of enjoyment
  • Loss of consortium
  • Punitive damages

Contact Big Ben Lawyers and Get the Compensation You Deserve

Being bitten and mauled by a dog can tear the skin and muscles. Scars may heal in a few months but the trauma the victim experiences may take longer to heal or will never will. Big Ben Lawyers understand what you’ve been going through. Our expert Los Angeles dog bite injury attorneys will stay by your side throughout the legal process.

We have an interest and background in Medicine, which will help us establish a strong case against the defendant. Focus on your healing and we’ll take care of your case. 

We also work on a contingency fee basis. Schedule a free consultation with us. Call (818) 423-4878 and let’s talk about your case.

Big Ben Lawyers
144 N Glendale Ave.
Suite 250
Glendale, CA 91206


Glendale Office

144 N Glendale Ave.
Suite 250
Glendale, CA 91206

(818) 423-4878

Fresno Office

1221 Van Ness Ave
Suite 307
Fresno, CA 93721

(559) 354-6344

Ontario Office

3281 E. Guasti Rd
7th Floor
Ontario, CA 91761

(909) 235-5886

Riverside Office

11801 Pierce St.
Suite 200
Riverside CA 92505

(951) 561-2002

Sacramento Office

1015 2nd St
Second Floor, Suite B
Sacramento, CA 95814

(916) 860-7800

San Bernadino Office

473 E Carnegie Dr
Suite 200
San Bernardino, CA 92408

(909) 963-0750

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