If you or a loved one were the victim of a dog bite, you know how devastating the experience can be. In addition to the physical pain and scars, you may also be dealing with emotional trauma and expensive medical bills. You may be wondering if you have any legal recourse. In most cases, the answer is yes. 

California has a strict liability law regarding dog bites. This means that the dog owner can be held responsible, whether or not they knew the dog was dangerous. If you’ve been the victim of a dog bite, you need the help of the personal injury attorneys at The Dominguez Firm. Call us today for a free consultation at (800) 818-1818.

Dog Bite Liability in California

In California, dog bites are taken very seriously. There are strict laws to protect victims and ensure that the responsible party is held accountable.

California’s Dog Bite Laws

In California, a dog owner is strictly liable for any injuries caused by their dog, regardless of whether or not the owner knew or should have known that their dog was dangerous. This is governed by California Civil Code Section 3342, which states: “The owner of any dog is liable for the damages suffered by any person who is bitten by the dog while in a public place or lawfully in a private place, including the property of the owner of the dog, regardless of the former viciousness of the dog or the owner’s knowledge of such viciousness.” 

Unlike some other states, there is also no one-bite law in California. Even if the dog has never bitten anyone before, you can still pursue a claim. What does this mean for victims? It means that if you are bitten by a dog in California, you can sue the owner for damages (medical bills, pain, suffering, etc.) without having to prove that the owner knew or should have known that their dog was dangerous. 

There are, however, some exceptions:

  • If the dog bite victim was illegally trespassing. However, if the trespasser was a child under the age of five, their parents can sue for any injuries from an attack.
  • If the victim provoked the dog.
  • If the dog was protecting its owner from an attack.
  • If the dog bit the victim while performing work duties (military, police).

Your Rights as a Victim 

If you have been bitten by a dog in California, you need to know your rights. You have the right to seek medical attention and consult an experienced personal injury attorney to discuss your legal options. Do not try to handle this on your own – let an experienced professional guide you through what can be a complicated process. 

Seeking Damages in Dog Bite Cases

While every case is different, certain factors will be considered when determining the compensation, legally known as damages, you may be awarded. 

1. The Severity of the Injury 

One of the first things that will be considered is the injury’s severity. This includes not just the physical wounds but also any emotional trauma inflicted. If the victim was left with permanent scarring or disfigurement, this will likely result in higher damages than if the injuries were less severe. 

2. The Extent of Your Medical Expenses 

Another important factor is the extent of your medical expenses. This includes doctor’s visits, hospital stays, and any ongoing therapy or rehabilitation that may be required. If you have incurred significant medical expenses due to the dog bite, this will be taken into account when calculating your damages. 

3. Lost Wages 

In cases where the victim missed work as a result of their injuries, they may be able to recover lost wages as part of their damages. To recover lost wages, victims must provide documentation such as pay stubs or doctor’s notes verifying that they were unable to work due to their injuries. 

4. Pain and Suffering 

Finally, victims may also be compensated for the pain and suffering caused by the dog bite. This includes both physical pain and emotional distress, such as anxiety or fearfulness. Generally speaking, courts recognize that dog bites are one of the most traumatic experiences a person can suffer and reward pain and suffering damages accordingly. 

Statute of Limitations

In California, the statute of limitations for filing a dog bite lawsuit is two years from the date of the incident. This means that if a dog bit you or a loved one, you have two years from the date of the bite to file a lawsuit against the dog’s owner. 

The statute of limitations is designed to protect defendants from having to defend themselves against lawsuits that are filed long after the incident occurred. However, certain exceptions to the statute of limitations may allow you to file a lawsuit even if more than two years have passed. 

The Minor Exception

An exception to the statute of limitations is known as the minor exception. This exception applies to children who have been injured by a dog bite. In most cases minors have until their 20th birthday—two years after they turn 18—to file a lawsuit. 

For example, if you were 17 years old when you were bitten by a dog, you would have until your 19th birthday to file a lawsuit.

One very important final note on this section: whether you were a child or an adult, you should never wait to file a Gardena dog bite claim. Waiting can greatly hurt your case. Vital evidence will certainly be lost. Also, defense attorneys may try to show the defendant’s dog did not attack you, especially if the dog has since died. 

Why Choose The Dominguez Firm

When you’re looking for legal help for your dog bite case, you want to choose a law firm with experience, knowledge, and a proven track record. At The Dominguez Firm, we will fight to get you the compensation you deserve for your injuries. Here’s why we’re the best choice to handle your dog bite case. 


The Dominguez Firm has been handling dog bite cases for over 35 years. We have the experience necessary to build a strong case on your behalf and get you the compensation you deserve. 

Knowledgeable Attorneys

Our team of attorneys is knowledgeable about all aspects of dog bite law. We will answer any questions and keep you informed throughout the process. 

Proven Track Record

We have successfully represented thousands of clients in dog bite cases. Our experience and knowledge have helped us achieve a high success rate. We are confident we can help you too. 

Personalized Service

When you choose The Dominguez Firm, you can be sure you will receive personalized attention from our team. We understand that this is a difficult time for you, and we will do everything we can to help you through it. 

Dog bites are one of the most horrific experiences a person can endure. Victims are often left with mental trauma and permanent scarring. If the victim is a child, they can suffer life-threatening injuries or be killed in the attack. Also note that you or your loved one have the right to sue for your Gardena dog bite injuries, regardless of whether criminal charges are filed against the owner or not. 

Call The Dominguez Firm for a free consultation today at (800) 818-1818. We have defended the rights of many dog bite victims throughout Southern California, let us do the same for you.

My experience was good. They made sure to kept me in the loop and made sure to let me know what was going on the whole time. My mom has used other attorneys and this experience was beyond better. I would definitely recommend them!

— Ashley Magana

The attorneys were always available and answered my questions. I would recommend them to anyone. Zoe is the best!

— Janet Salazar

My experience with The Dominguez Firm and the attorneys was really good. They were very informative and always returned my calls.

— Jocelyn Gonzalez