Does California Have a “One Bite” Law?

wet, fluffy dog biting onto a stick a person wearing denim pants is holding

Spending more time outdoors is great for getting some fresh air during the summer, but it can also present some additional hazards. Unfortunately, dog attacks tend to be more common this time of year, leaving victims with significant injuries and the possibility of infections.

When you've been attacked by a dog, it's important to understand your rights. In California, the law governing dog bites is not necessarily a “one bite” rule but can ensure your medical expenses are paid for and prevent this incident from happening again.

Dog Attacks and Owner Liability in California

Under California law, a dog owner is held liable for any damages caused by their pet in public or when the victim is in a private place lawfully, like the owner's residence. In contrast to other states' “one bite” rules, dogs in California don't have to have been involved in a previous attack in order for the owner to be held liable.

This strict liability system ensures that owners take the responsibility to protect others from potentially harmful situations involving their pets. In some cases, they may even have to euthanize their dog if it has shown to be violent or had rabies at the time of the attack.

What Expenses are Covered by the Dog Owner?

The dog owner is responsible for all medical expenses related to the victim's injuries, as well as any lost wages due to missed work. If the attack was particularly bad and caused permanent disfigurement or disability, then the victim may be able to sue for pain and suffering damages.

It's important to note that California law requires all dogs over the age of four months to have current rabies vaccinations. If a dog bites someone and doesn't have up-to-date shots, the owner can be fined up to $2000.

Learn more: What Dog Vaccinations Are Required in California?

Keeping Dog Owners Accountable

Regardless of your age, experiencing a dog attack can be a traumatizing experience that leaves you emotionally and physically scarred. The team at Fowler | Helsel | Vogt can help you hold negligent dog owners accountable for the damages caused. Schedule a free consultation with a member of our team today by calling (559) 900-1280.

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