A dog bite can cause devastating injuries, regardless of the breed. Some breeds are more likely to inflict a bite, causing a severe injury. However, state and local dog bite laws in California are not breed-specific. 


California has some of the strictest liability laws for dog owners in the nation. For the most part, if a person’s dog bites you, they are liable. There are a few situations where they may not be responsible for a dog bite, but they are far and few in between. 


Furthermore, if a dog chases you and it results in an accident, but not a dog bite, there may be other options available to pursue compensation, mostly if the dog owner was negligent. 


If you’ve recently suffered a dog bite in Los Angeles or the surrounding area, contact the Steinberg Injury Lawyers to discuss your case today. 


Learn more about dog bites and liability in California below. 

When is a Dog Owner Liable?

In many states, a dog owner must first be aware their dog is dangerous before being held liable for future dog attacks. In California, that’s not the case. 


Dog owners can be held liable even if their pet has never attacked anyone before. Pet owners could be held responsible if the person injured suffered a dog bite and were in a public area or even if they were lawfully in private areas. 


A dog bite doesn’t have to lead to skin breaking or blood for an owner to be held liable for injuries caused as a result of the bite. For instance, if a dog bites a person on a bike (but doesn’t break the skin) and the person gets into an accident, the dog owner can still be liable for injuries caused. 


Also, you can’t sue the police or military if you suffer a dog bite while defending themselves or acting according to their duty. 

How Can a Dog Owner Defend Dog Bite Charges?

California dog bite laws are strict. However, there are potential legal defenses available to dog owners regarding injuries caused by their pets. A few of the most common reasons include:

  • The victim was trespassing at the time of the dog bite.

  • They were fully or partially to blame for the attack. 

  • The victim voluntarily risked injury. 


Other defenses may be more appropriate in criminal defense dog bite cases. 

Contact Steinberg Injury Lawyers Today

Whether you’re being sued for a dog bite injury or you are the victim, it’s in your best interest to consult with a personal injury attorney as soon as possible. An adept lawyer can inform you of your rights, develop potential defenses, or help you to seek maximum compensation (if you are a dog bite victim). 


Navigating the complexities of California dog bite laws alone can be challenging. Fortunately, you don’t have to. Contact the dog bite attorneys at Steinberg Injury Lawyers today to schedule your free initial consultation. 

Peter Steinberg
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Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney Since 1982
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