Dog Bites

There are 3 types of dog bite laws that create liability:

  1. Dog Bite Statute: where the dog owner is automatically liable for any injury or property damage the dog causes without provocation.

  2. The One-Bite Rule: where the dog owner is responsible for any injury caused by a dog if the owner knew the dog was likely to cause that type of injury; the victim must prove the owner knew the dog was dangerous.

  3. Negligence Laws: where the dog owner is liable if the injury occurred because the dog owner was unreasonably careless in controlling the dog. 

When it comes to dog bites, each state is different. California operates on the legal theory of “Strict Liability”, meaning that the owner of a dog that bites someone is “strictly liable” for the bite. Other state laws require the dog owner have “notice” or a prior attack or bite. In other words, one free bite. California applies the rule that if your dog bites someone, you are automatically liable for the dog bite.