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Does California Follow a One-Bite Rule for Dog Bite Cases?

States around the US use various methods to handle what happens after a dog bite occurs. In some cases, states will use a “one bite rule,” which means that, in order to recover compensation from a dog’s owner, it has to be shown that the dog has previously bitten an individual before. However, other states approach these cases with a strict liability law, which means that the dog owner will be responsible regardless of whether or not their pet has ever bitten anybody in the past.

What is a “One Bite” Rule?

Many states around the country follow a “one bite” rule when it comes to dog bites. Essentially, this means that a person will only be able to recover compensation for their dog bite injury if it can be shown that the dog has previously bitten somebody or that they have shown a propensity for aggression. As you might imagine, a one-bite rule places significant limitations on a victim’s ability to recover the compensation they need to make a recovery.

Luckily, California does not follow the one-bite rule system when it comes to dog bites.

California and Strict Liability for Dog Bites

States that do not use a one-bite rule typically use a “strict liability” law when it comes to dog bites. Under this type of system, a dog owner will be held liable for a bite victim’s injuries, regardless of whether or not the animal has ever bitten somebody before or shown a propensity for aggression. Regardless of how minor the dog bite injury is, the owner will still be held liable, and the victim has the right to pursue compensation for any resulting damages.

Compensation Available After a California Dog Bite

There may be various types of compensation available to dog bite victims in California. This includes both economic and non-economic types of losses. Some of the most common losses that an attorney can help a person recover compensation for include the following:

  • Emergency medical expenses
  • Surgical procedures
  • Physical therapy and rehabilitation
  • All follow-up medical care
  • Lost income if a victim cannot work while recovering

In addition to these calculable expenses, dog bites can also cause psychological and emotional trauma. It is not uncommon for dog bite victims, especially children, to experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a result of the incident.  

There is no set amount of money available to dog bite victims in California. These situations must be examined on a case-by-case basis, and there are several factors that can affect compensation amounts, including the severity of the injuries, the length of recovery time, and whether or not there are any lasting scars or disabilities.

Do You Need a Dog Bite Lawyer?

Even though California operates under a strict liability rule when it comes to dog bites, recovering compensation is not easy. Individuals who lack extensive legal experience and those who do not have significant resources often struggle going up against aggressive and well-funded insurance carriers. 

A skilled dog bite lawyer in Santa Ana can get involved in the case early, conduct a full investigation into the incident, and stand up to the insurance carriers involved. An attorney will link the dog bite victim with trusted medical and economic experts who can fully evaluate the situation and help calculate total expected losses.