We all love to meet new furry friends, but not when a dog bite occurs. Dog bite accidents are a serious matter that can have great consequences. Oftentimes, dog bites may occur for a number of reasons, and the victims can pay a large price in terms of painful injuries. Dog bite incidents are still underreported when it comes to laws and what to do after a dog bite incident occurs to you. You may be wondering, does California have dog bite laws? Can you file a claim if you were bitten by someone else’s dog? Read on to find out.


One-Bite Rule

The one-bite rule essentially holds owners liable if their dogs have already bitten someone once before. If a dog bites someone once, then the owner will be held liable if a biting incident happens again. This rule does require proof that the owner did something wrong. For example, if a dog bit someone but there was no prior evidence the dog had bitten anyone else, the owner would not be held liable. If a dog bites someone once and this is the second incident, now the owner is held accountable.


Strict Liability Rule

The strict liability rule for dog bites holds the owner accountable for the dog’s actions even if the owner took all the necessary precautions. For example, if a dog escapes from its cage that it was placed into by its owner for precaution, and manages to bite somebody, the owner is held liable.


What Does California Practice?

California has been practicing the strict liability rule for dog bites since 1931. This means that any dog bite incidents that happen in public places or where the victim had a lawful right to be place the dog’s owner under liability and they can be determined to owe the dog bite victim compensation.

However, California does also practice the one-bite rule for specific cases, such as:

  • The owner is not the one being sued for the dog bite attack
  • The victim of the dog bite was trespassing on the dog owner’s property
  • The victim assumed risk of dog bite injury or was partially responsible for their dog bite injury
  • The dog was a law enforcement animal in the line of duty


California does place strict liability on the owners for most cases of dog bite incidents, but there are a few that may place the blame on victims. Particularly when the victim was committing a crime such as trespassing or knew that they were at risk for a dog bite.


If you were in a public place and were bitten by a dog that was without a leash, neglected by the owner, or other reasons, you may be entitled to file a personal injury claim for financial compensation. Dog bites can leave horrible injuries to tend to, so you’ll want to get a consultation for your claim as soon as possible. For a personal injury attorney in Ontario, call the team at Lerner, Moore, Silva, Cunningham & Rubel.