Dog bites and other canine-related injuries can be very serious, especially when they involve young children. According to California’s dog bite statute, a dog owner is responsible for the injuries his pet causes, even if the dog showed no prior signs of aggression. Occasionally, when the owner of a knowingly dangerous dog shows no regard for the safety of others, punitive damages are in order.
California Dog Bite Law
Some states are known as “one bite” states, meaning an owner is not liable for injuries caused by his dog unless he knew the dog had bitten someone before. California is known as a “strict liability” state, meaning pet owners are liable for their dogs’ bad behavior, even if the dog has never been aggressive before that day.
California Civil Code §3342 is known as California’s “dog bite law.” The statute declares an owner liable for any injuries caused by his dog’s bite (as long as the victim was not trespassing). Dogs that are not included in the statute are dogs that are “on the job” in law enforcement and military, dogs that bite after being provoked (by someone over the age of 5), and dogs that did not bite but caused other injuries. Even if the circumstances of your case are not covered by the dog bite statute, you may still be entitled to compensation under the state’s negligence laws.