| Read Time: 4 minutes | Dog Bite
California dog bite laws

If you or a loved one has been attacked by a dog in California, the aftermath can be overwhelming. Medical bills pile up, daily tasks become difficult, and the fear associated with the attack can linger.

The legal team at Weinberg Law Offices understands the physical, emotional, and financial burden a dog bite can cause. We are committed to helping victims navigate the legal complexities of dog bite cases in California. This blog post will equip you with essential knowledge of California dog bite laws, your rights as a victim, and how Weinberg Law Offices can help you secure the compensation you deserve.

What Are the Most Important Dog Bite Laws?

Understanding California’s dog bite laws is crucial. These laws establish dog owner liability and your rights to seek compensation for injuries. At Weinberg Law Offices, we offer compassion and support during this difficult time. You should know the following four fundamental California dog bite laws in 2024.

1. California Strict Liability Rule

Some states follow the “one-bite rule.” Under this rule, dog owners are only liable if the dog has bitten someone before. However, California protects victims with a different law called “strict liability.” 

Under the doctrine of strict liability, dog owners are financially liable for injuries their dog inflicts, regardless of the dog’s past behavior or the owner’s knowledge of aggression. This rule applies even in situations where the dog appeared friendly beforehand. 

Strict liability ensures dog owners are held accountable and discourages them from neglecting their pet’s training or proper containment, creating a safer environment for everyone. 

2. Exceptions to Strict Liability

While California’s strict liability law offers robust protection for dog bite victims, there are a few exceptions where dog owners may not be liable, such as the following:

  • Trespassing. If you were trespassing on private property when bitten, the owner’s liability may be reduced or negated. However, the owner could still be responsible if the trespasser can prove that the owner’s negligence caused their dog bite injuries.
  • Provocation. If you intentionally provoked the dog, the owner’s liability might be lessened or eliminated depending on the facts of the case. 
  • Military or police work dogs. There are limited exceptions for bites from working dogs in the police or military, such as police K-9s, while performing their official duties.

If a dog has bitten you and you are unsure about your rights, consulting with an experienced personal injury attorney is crucial.

3. Time Limit to Bring a Dog Bite Case

California’s statute of limitations for personal injury claims, including dog bites, is generally two years from the incident date. You have two years to file a lawsuit against the dog owner to recover damages. 

Missing this deadline can significantly hinder your ability to seek compensation. So, it’s imperative to act promptly. 

4. Reporting Requirements and Quarantine

After a dog bite, owners must follow specific reporting and quarantine requirements. According to California law, any dog bite must be reported to local health officials or animal control. The goal is to help track potentially dangerous animals and ensure examination of the dog for rabies.

The dog may be subject to a quarantine period, usually lasting 10 days, to monitor for signs of rabies. This law is effective in areas designated as “rabies areas,” which includes all 58 counties in California.

What Should I Do After a Dog Bite Attack?

Dog bite laws in California provide clear guidelines for liability and ensure victims can seek compensation for their injuries. If a dog has bitten you, take the following steps to protect your rights:

  • Seek medical attention. Your health and safety are the top priority. Even if the injury seems minor, getting medical care is crucial for preventing infection and documenting your injuries.
  • Report the incident. File a report with local authorities or animal control. This documentation will be necessary for any legal claims you pursue.
  • Gather evidence. Collect information about the dog, its owner, and any witnesses to the incident. Photos of your injuries and the scene can also be valuable.
  • Consult an attorney. A knowledgeable Los Angeles dog bite lawyer can help you navigate the legal process, gather necessary evidence, and advocate for your rights to ensure you receive fair compensation.

At Weinberg Law Offices, our compassionate and experienced team supports you through every step of your recovery and legal journey.

What Damages Are Recoverable in Dog Bite Cases?

If you’ve been bitten by a dog in California and the owner is liable, you can seek compensation for various damages, including the following:

  • Medical expenses—these expenses cover all costs associated with treating your injuries, including doctor visits, hospital stays, medications, surgeries, rehabilitation, and nursing care;
  • Lost wages—if your injuries prevent you from working or limit your earning capacity, you can recover lost wages and future income loss;
  • Pain and suffering—this damage includes compensation for physical and emotional distress caused by the bite and its aftermath; and
  • Property damage—if the dog damaged your clothing or other belongings during the attack, you can recover the cost.

An experienced Los Angeles dog bite lawyer can examine your case and calculate an accurate assessment of your damages to ensure you recover fair compensation.

Get the Legal Help You Need to Secure the Financial Compensation You Deserve

Yoni Weinberg, the founder of Weinberg Law Offices, has dedicated his law practice to representing personal injury victims and holding negligent parties accountable for their actions.

He understands communication is the key to any legal relationship and aims to return client inquiries within 24 hours. He uses various communication mediums, including phone, email, text message, and fax. Yoni is also trilingual, speaking English, Spanish, and Hebrew. 

Dog bite laws in California can be overwhelming and hard to understand. At Weinberg Law Offices, we will represent your best interests and help you achieve the best possible outcome for your case. Contact our office today for a free case evaluation.

Author Photo

As a personal injury attorney, my mantra is that there is no such thing as a “small case”. I will give 100% matter how big or small a case may be. I am fluent in English, Hebrew, and Spanish, languages which I use regularly in my practice.

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