Does the “One-Bite Rule” Apply in California?
Many states across the country have a one-bite rule in place when it comes to dog bite incidents, which means it may only be possible to hold the dog’s owner responsible for injuries if the dog has previously bitten somebody before. However, California does not operate under the one-bite rule. Here, we want to discuss how the state of California handles dog bite incidents when it comes to liability.
What is a One-Bite Rule?
Across the country, each state is allowed to set its own laws for how dog bite incidents are handled when it comes to the civil court system and victims becoming eligible to recover compensation. One way that many states have handled these incidents is by instituting a “one-bite rule,” which basically means that the owner of the dog will only have to pay compensation to a dog bite victim if their dog is known to have bitten somebody in the past or is known to be an aggressive dog.
In the event a dog has already bitten somebody before or is known to be aggressive bites someone again, then the dog’s owner will be held automatically liable for paying compensation to the victim.
What is California Law Regarding Dog Bites?
California does not operate under a one-bite rule. When we examine California Civil Code 3342, we can see that a dog owner will be held strictly liable for their dog’s behavior if they bite somebody in a public place or in an area where the victim had a lawful rate to be. It does not matter whether or not the dog has previously bitten somebody before or shown a propensity for aggression. If a dog in California bites somebody under those circumstances, then the dog’s owner will be responsible for paying compensation to the victim.
In order to prove these claims in civil court, the dog bite victim must show the following:
- The defendant owned the dog in question
- The dog bit the individual who was in a public place or where they had a lawful right to be
- The dog bite caused injury to the victim
- The dog bite was a substantial factor in any injuries sustained
In some cases, it may be necessary to work with a skilled dog bite injury lawyer to prove these factors in court. The reality is that a dog owner, their insurance carrier, and their legal team could all put up a fight against having to pay out compensation, and they may dispute liability. A lawyer can help a dog bite injury victim work through this process and recover their rightful compensation.
Who Pays This Compensation to a Dog Bite Victim?
In general, these claims will be settled with an insurance carrier. If the dog owner owns a home and has homeowners’ insurance, then this insurance will likely pay compensation to the dog bite victim. Another option if the dog owner is a renter is renter’s insurance, but that type of insurance is not mandatory in California.
In the event the dog owner has no insurance carrier to tap into to receive compensation, it may be necessary to pursue compensation from the dog owner’s personal assets through the use of a Riverside personal injury lawyer.
When you work with a skilled dog bite injury lawyer in Orange County, they will have the resources necessary to pursue compensation through various routes. Your attorney will help guide you toward the best path if recovering the compensation you need either through a settlement or taking the case to trial.