Does California Have a One Bite Rule?

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Dog bite injuries are often severe. Dogs have very powerful jaws that can inflict significant damage on the human body. States across the country use various laws in order to determine liability when a dog bite incident occurs. These laws have a major impact on a bite victim’s ability to recover compensation.

Some states hold a dog owner liable for any injury their dog causes if they bite somebody, regardless of whether or not the owner was negligent. However, other states rely on what is called a “one bite rule,” which means that a dog owner will only be held liable if the dog has previously bitten somebody. Here, we want discuss whether or not California follows the one bite rule.

California is Not a “One Bite” State

As previously mentioned, many states across this country operate under a one bite rule, which says that a dog owner will only be held responsible for injuries caused by their dog if it can be proven by a dog bite attorney that the dog has previously bitten somebody before. California does not operate under a one bite system concerning dog bites.  

California has a Strict Liability Law for Dog Bites 

The state of California has a strict liability law in place for dog bites. This means that a dog owner can be held liable for any injuries caused by their dog biting somebody else, regardless of whether or not the dog has ever bitten anyone or shown a propensity for aggression. So long as the injury victim was on public property or lawfully on private property, the dog owner can be held liable for the bite injuries. 

Dog Bites Can Lead to Severe Injuries

Data available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows that around 800,000 people seek medical care each year due to dog bites. While many of these injuries are relatively minor, that is not always the case. It is not uncommon for dog bite injury victims to sustain the following:

  • Significant blood loss
  • Severe lacerations or puncture wounds 
  • Severed arteries, veins, muscles, tendons 
  • Avulsions of the skin
  • Amputations
  • Crushed or broken bones
  • Infections 
  • Scarring and disfigurement 

Dog bite injury victims regularly suffer from significant emotional and psychological trauma. This is particularly true for incidents involving children. Unfortunately, data shows that more than half of all dog bite victims in this country occur to children. 

Work With an Attorney for Your Case

If you or somebody you care about has been bitten and injured by a dog, you need to contact an attorney as soon as possible. These cases can become complicated, even with the state’s strict liability law for dog bites.

Let a Long Beach injury attorney investigate every aspect of your claim in order to determine liability and handle negotiations with aggressive insurance carriers. These cases often delve into back and forth communication between homeowners insurance carriers and the injury victim. When this occurs, an attorney will be an invaluable resource that can threaten to take the case to trial if necessary. An attorney will be able to help maximize the compensation you receive for your medical bills, lost income, scarring and disfigurement, pain and suffering, out-of-pocket expenses, and more.