Thursday, August 4, 2022

"Strict" Liability for Dog Bites in California

In many states, dog owners are protected (to some degree) from injury liability the first time their dog injures someone if they had no reason to believe the dog was dangerous. This is often called a "one bite" rule. In California however, a specific statute (California Civil Code section 3342) makes the owner "strictly liable", meaning the dog owner is legally responsible in most situations where their dog bites someone, and no amount of fault or negligence needs to be shown. Specifically, the statute reads:

"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."

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