An Overview of California Dog Bite Law

Dog Bite Law

A vicious dog can inflict serious damage on an individual. In addition to the physical harm and recuperation, a victim of a dog attack will likely face medical bills, property damage, lost wages, and other losses. If your or a loved one was the victim of a dog attack, look for personal injury lawyers in Tracy who have experience with these types of cases. Your personal injury lawyer can help you understand the applicable California laws. Your attorney may also file a claim on your behalf to help you recover compensation for your losses.

Overview Of California Dog Bite Law

Strict Liability

California has a strict liability statute regarding dog bite cases. This statute can be found under California Civil Code section 3342. Strict liability is essentially a zero tolerance policy toward dog attacks. This means that an owner may be held liable for bites regardless of the dog’s prior history. Even if the dog is not known to be dangerous and has never bitten anyone else, the owner may accountable for your losses. This is in contrast to other states with a “one bite” rule, which only hold the owner liable if the dog was previously known to attack or otherwise exhibit dangerous behavior.


Your injury lawyer may file a claim against the owner on the basis of negligence. Dog owners are required to take reasonable actions to prevent their dogs from attacking others . For example, a lawyer could argue that an owner is negligent for failing to confine the dog within the home or yard, or for failing to use a leash when walking the dog.


There are a few exceptions to holding an owner liable for a dog attack. Your injury lawyer will evaluate the specifics of your case to determine if it may fall under one of these exceptions. For example, you may not hold the owner liable if the dog was being used by the police, military, or other government agency during an investigation. If you are considered an unlawful trespasser onto a dog owner’s property, you may not hold that person liable for an attack. Additionally, the dog owner may claim that he or she forewarned you about the potential dangers of interacting with the dog. If you did so despite these warnings, you may not be able to hold the owner liable for your injuries.

Although the statute of limitations for filing a dog bite lawsuit is two years, Bakerink, McCusker & Belden in Tracy, CA, advise against waiting that long to take action. If your injuries are minor or resulted in a relatively small ER bill, you may choose to wait. However, dog bites can lead to more severe and lasting issues, potentially causing significant financial strain. Therefore, it is prudent to seek legal representation immediately rather than delaying. The personal injury lawyers at Bakerink, McCusker & Belden are ready to assist you.

For more information about dog bites and our dog attack attorneys, contact us today.