Who is Held Responsible in California Dog Bite Accident Cases?

Dog Bite Lawyer
Dog Bite Accident Case

In most of the states in America, the “One-Bite Rule” is imposed for dog bite cases. However, the rule for is not the same in California for dog bite accidents. Here, the state imposes a “strict liability statute”. According to this statute, the owner of the dog will be held responsible for the accident and he will be punished accordingly.

The act is applicable if the accident occurs at public places, at the victim’s place, while the victim was performing a lawful duty, etc. Here, the victim will not have to prove that the dog was aggressive or the dog owner was careless in order to avail the dog bite settlement. Rather, he/she will have to just show the dog bite that led to the injury. No dog bite lawyer can turn the case in such situations. Nevertheless, there can be some other possible defendants as well for the same depending on the entire scenario of the case. Below are some of the possible defendants other than the owner in California dog bite accident cases.

Police Department

According to the strict liability statute, it is prohibited to bring forth a cause of action against the police department under the following conditions.

  • If the police dog was helping the employee in holding a culprit or a suspect
  • While investigating a crime
  • If the dog bite occurs while defending the employee or itself

Note that if the victim was not the original culprit, the strict liability statute can be applied even if the dog was performing its duty. If the above-mentioned situations are not applicable, the strict liability statute will be issued against the police department. Besides, the governmental agency using the dog must have a written policy related to the use of the dog in order to avail this defense.

City Ordinance

According to the state law, the potential defendant of the dog bite will be the owner of the animal. However, the city laws allow naming some other possible suspects as well such as the person who controls the canine or has the custody of the animal. It is the responsibility of the dog keeper to take proper care of their dog and thereby, to prevent dog bite accidents.

Animal Shelter

In case the injury occurred because of a dog escaped from an animal shelter, the shelter will be held responsible for the case. Even if a particular staff of the animal shelter is liable for the safekeeping of that particular dog, the entire shelter will be answerable for the injury.


If the dog is owned by a child or a minor, the possible defendants will be the parents of the owner. This is because children cannot be held legally guilty or responsible for accidents.

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