Liability Laws for Dog Owners Bring Confusion for California Pet Owners


Humans and dogs have shared a special bond that goes back thousands of years. The role the dog played in shaping culture’s all over the world is why they’re referred to as man’s best friend. Throughout the centuries they’ve been used for everything from simple companionship, to protection, to herding and hunting. Today, we’re even starting to understand that dogs play an important role in our emotional health.

Considering how much we love our dogs, it’s easy to understand how we can lose sight of the fact that at the end of the day, they are still animals and as such not as predictable as we often trick ourselves into believing. Even though your dog is very well trained and has never offered to bite anyone, you need to understand that if the circumstances are just right, they have the ability to bite. If that happens you could be facing a personal injury claim that’s been filed by the person your dog snapped at.

The laws surrounding California dog bite liability have been a source of great confusion in recent years, but officials are working to raise awareness and help pet owners be prepared and knowledgeable about current laws.

If you don’t have good quality home owner’s insurance policy, or if you failed to alert your insurance company to the fact you have a dog, or that dog is a breed they won’t cover, all of your assets and income could be taken away from you and used to finance the dog bite victim’s medical bills and other bite related expenses.

Whether you’re the owner of a dog, or someone who has just been bitten, it’s important to understand the way the law works regarding the animal.

tumblr_inline_ns915s25hF1t5xijq_500The laws regarding biting dogs vary from one state to the next. California has the distinction of being a one bite state, which means that the dog is able to bite someone one time (depending on the situation) and the victim won’t be able to press charges. However, if the dog turns around and bites someone else, or even the same person, the dog owner could find themselves facing a personal injury lawsuit.

The way the state laws are currently set up, if a person is severely injured by the dog bite, they can file a personal injury claim against the dog’s owners and seek out compensation for their medical expenses, additional losses, and the legal fees they’ll owe their attorney. It will be on the plaintiff to prove that they did nothing to provoke the attack.

For the purposes of personal injuries during dog bite cases, a severe injury is one that results in “any physical injury that results in broken bones or disfiguring lacerations requiring multiple sutures or cosmetic surgery.” (The Dog Law, sec. 102.)

dogbite_settlement-300x206California personal injury attorney, Drew Warren, understands how California’s dog bite laws can be complicated. “The best thing a person can do after they’ve sustained an injury in a dog bite, is contacting a lawyer who will not only help the individual determine whether they sustained a non-severe or severe injury, but will also help you file the necessary paperwork, guide you through the legal process, and make sure you get the settlement you need and deserve.”


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