True or False? Dogs Get One Free Bite

Los Angeles Dog Bite Injury Lawyers

Gould & Jefferson of Beverly Hills is a personal injury firm that has recovered millions in dollars for our clients. We are dog bite lawyers who understand the pain and suffering that comes along with your injuries, and we will fight to ensure maximum compensation on you deserve. This article is intended for informational purposes only  and is not intended to be legal advice. Please call our office to speak with a lawyer regarding your potential case. (310) 899-9529. 

What is the One Bite Rule?

The one bite rule for domesticated animals, including dogs, says that the owner of a domesticated animal who bites a person for the first time will not be held liable. That is unless they knew or should have known that the animal would have bitten a person because of the animals dangerous tendencies (usually because it has happened before). If the owner knew or should have known of the domesticated animals dangerous tendency and the animal acts in accordance with that dangerous tendency, then the owner can be held liable. This law, however, has been modified or rejected by many states.

What about California?

California follows the strict liability rule for dog bites, which is different than the one bite rule. Under strict liability, even if the owner took precautionary measures, the owner can still be held liable. This law is known as California Civil Code 3342.

California Civil Code 3342

This statute was enacted as a strict liability law for dog bites and is in lieu of the one bite rule. An owner is strictly liable for a dog bite that occurs in public or where the victim had the lawful right to be. However, there are exceptions where the owner may not be liable.

When Would the Owner Not Be Liable?

There are exceptions to when the owner can be held strictly liable. As mentioned above, since the incident has to occur either in public or where the victim had the lawful right to be, an owner will not be held strictly liable if the victim was a trespasser on the owner’s property. Some other exceptions include: the dog was a law enforcement animal in the line of duty, the victim was partially responsible for their injuries, or the victim assumed the risk of the injury.

What Are My Other Options If The Owner Cannot Be Held Strictly Liable?

If the owner cannot be held strictly liable, possibly because one of the exceptions above applies, then a claim can still be pursued against the owner for negligence.

Another possible route, if strict liability is unavailable, is the one bite rule. If there is proof that the dog has bitten a person before, then that shows the owner knew the dog was dangerous. This can be used if the victim was a trespasser, the victim works in a field that comes with the risk of being bitten by a dog (ex. veterinarians), or the person you are suing is not the owner of the dog.

Dog Bite Injury Lawyers Fighting For You.

At Gould & Jefferson of Beverly Hills, we have the dog bite lawyers necessary to assist with dog bite related issues. Our firm has recovered millions of dollars for our clients and we will fight for you and your loved ones until we obtain the recovery that is deserved. Call us at (310) 899-9529 and let our team get started for you right away.