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Liability in a California Dog Bite Injury

Torem & Associates

A dog bite can result in severe and sometimes life-threatening injuries, highlighting the importance of understanding dog owners’ responsibilities and potential liabilities. In California, the law holds dog owners strictly liable for the damages their pets cause, regardless of the animal’s previous behavior. This legal stance underscores the significance of owner responsibility in preventing such incidents. The ramifications of dog bites extend beyond physical wounds, encompassing emotional trauma and financial burdens related to medical expenses, lost wages, and rehabilitation costs.

How a Dog Bite Can Cause Serious Damage to a Human

Common bite injuries by a canine range from superficial skin damage to more severe, life-altering consequences, such as the following:

  • Minor injuries often include punctures, scrapes, and bruises, which, while painful, typically heal with minimal medical intervention. 
  • More serious bites can lead to deep lacerations, muscle and tendon damage, and broken bones, necessitating surgical repair in some cases. 
  • Severe bites may cause permanent nerve damage or massive scarring, leading to long-term physical and psychological distress for the victim.
  • Infections from a bite can include viral or bacterial infections, such as salmonella, Pasteurella, or staph. More serious complications, such as rabies or tetanus, pose a significant danger if the dog’s vaccination history is unknown or the animal is unvaccinated.

California Dog Bite Laws

California’s Civil Code Section 3342 offers clear recourse for individuals bitten by dogs. The statute maintains that dog owners are liable for damages if the person is bitten in a public location or lawfully present in a private area. This includes the dog owner’s property, underscoring this law’s broad applicability. Unlike some states that apply a “one-bite” rule, where the owner may not be liable if the dog had never bitten anyone before, California imposes strict liability. This means that the dog owner is responsible for any injuries caused by their pet’s bite, regardless of the dog’s past behavior or the owner’s knowledge of such behavior. The aim is to ensure victims receive compensation for their injuries and encourage dog owners to take preventative measures to avoid such incidents.

How a California Dog Attack Lawyer Handles Your Injury Case

The role of evidence in a California injury case involving a bite by a dog cannot be overstated. Compiling and presenting comprehensive evidence is essential for substantiating the victim’s claims. This includes documenting the extent of the injuries through medical records, photographs of the wounds, and expert testimony on the potential for long-term effects. Evidence also comprises witness statements, which can corroborate the victim’s account of the incident, and any available video or photographic evidence capturing the event. Additionally, records confirming the dog’s ownership and the location of the incident play a crucial role. This evidence forms the foundation of the victim’s case, reinforcing the argument for the dog owner’s liability and the victim’s right to compensation.

Torem & Associates: Dog Bite Cases

Boasting over three decades of legal expertise, the team at Torem & Associates has a proven track record in managing and winning dog bite injury cases. For a no-cost evaluation of your situation, please contact us at either (559) 257-3588 or toll-free at (800) 500-5000. You can also contact us online. We are committed to securing the highest possible financial restitution for your injuries. Our firm operates on a contingency basis, meaning you will not be charged any fees until we achieve a successful settlement or verdict in your favor.


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