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If the neighbors dog bites me even though its on a chain is the owner liable for injuries even if I wasn't hospitalized?

Los Angeles, CA |

I was bit by the dog as i was helping my cousin move his tv inside his house when his neighbors dog latched on to my leg.

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Attorney answers 4


California’s dog bite law imposes strictly liability on dog bite owners. If the dog bites somebody, the owner is responsible for paying damages. Even if the dog doesn't have a history of biting or vicious behavior, the owner can still be held liable. Here's the applicable statute:

"Calif. Civil Code § 3342. a. 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. A person is lawfully upon the private property of such owner within the meaning of this section when he is on such property in the performance of any duty imposed upon him by the laws of this state or by the laws or postal regulations of the United States, or when he is on such property upon the invitation, express or implied, of the owner."

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One of the Avvo attorneys, Christophe P. Mesaros, has written an excellent guide on the law and exceptions to the law in CA. You can find it at this link.

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Yes. Band-Aid and iodine, repair or replace damaged clothing, but not mental distress or pain and suffering.

I am an Attorney-at-Law, licensed to practice law only in the state of California. Unless we have both signed a formal retainer agreement, you are not my client, and my discussion of issues does not constitute legal advice. Opinions expressed herein are those of the author, and do not necessarily represent the opinions of those who hold other opinions.


Absolutely. In California, the owner of a dog is strictly liable for his or her dog's actions that cause injury. What this means is that it doesn't matter if the dog never bit someone or something in the past--the owner is liable for damages caused by his or her dog the first time that dog does something like this. California is different than many other states in this regard. Many other states have a "one free bite" rule--which means that a dog owner would not be liable if the dog did not have a history of aggressive behavior. Even if your injury is not severe, you can likely recover from the dog owner's home owner's or renter's insurance policy, which typically cover these kinds of injuries. Call the attorneys at Kaplan Lee for more information, and remember the initial consultation is free.

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