What Are “Dog Bite” Laws In California?
It is estimated that more than 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs each year in the United States, and more than 800,000 receive medical attention for dog bites according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.
The number of dog bites per year has become so common that states such as California have enacted legislation to help protect their population.
In 1931, California enacted a strict liability law for dog bites. This law, California Civil Code 3342, supplanted the “one-bite rule” in California.
California Civil Code 3342 states the following:
“The owner of any dog is liable for the damages suffered by any person who is bitten by the dog while in a public place or lawfully in a private place, including the property of the owner of the dog, regardless of the former viciousness of the dog or the owner’s knowledge of such viciousness.”
This means, if a dog bites someone, it is a strict liability issue. The law places responsibility on the owner for all damages resulting from the dog bite, even if the dog has never bitten anyone before.
As a result, a plaintiff does not need to prevail on a theory of negligence to recover damages.
Are you the victim of a dog bite?