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Strict Liability and Dog Bites

Nov 25, 2014

When it comes to getting attacked by a dog, the state you’re in will have almost as much impact on your case as the facts presented. Different states handle dog bite cases in different ways. The two most common types of rule are “strict liability” and “negligence.” In the first, strict liability, dog owners are responsible for anything a dog does, period. In the second, negligence, dog owners are responsible for a dog’s actions only if the owner can be found at fault for the dog’s behavior through negligence or purposeful action.

California is a strict liability state. This means that in California, a dog owner is responsible for all damages resulting from a dog bite regardless of the dog’s previous behavior. If you are bitten by a dog in California, you need only to prove that the bite occurred while you were in public or lawfully in a private location. You do not have to demonstrate that the owner knew the dog would bite or failed to stop the dog from doing so.

If you are injured by a dog but a bite was not involved (for example, a dog jumped on you and knocked you down or a loose dog plowed into one of your kids), you’ll need to take some extra steps to prove your case to a court. A personal injury attorney in Los Angeles can help you make the necessary preparations.

When dealing with dog-specific court cases, several Los Angeles and California laws must be considered. Here are a couple:

  • Pet owners are limited to three adult dogs or cats in any family residence. Dangerous and exotic animals require a permit from the Inland Valley Humane Society.
  • All dogs must be on a leash at all times when outside of a fenced yard (unless at an off-leash dog park). Failure to keep a dog on leash has a fine in and of itself; it is not legal to allow a dog run at large anywhere but on your own private property.

Translating these laws and regulations into a viable court case is the job of a personal injury attorney in Los Angeles. If you’ve recently suffered an injury due to a dog bite, consult an attorney as soon as possible to fully understand your rights and options. For more information or to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced trial lawyers please visit or contact us at (888) 341-9802.

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