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California Dog Bite Lawyers

Around five million people are bitten by dogs each year, and many of those bites cause injuries that require medical treatment. Some dog bites can cause lifelong disability or severe disfigurement. It’s important to know that bite victims in California are often entitled to compensation from the dog owner when their pet causes injuries.

If you’ve been injured by a dog bite, it’s important to speak to an experienced California dog bite attorney, such as the attorneys at Silva Injury Law, Inc., as soon as possible to discuss your claim. Contact us today.

California Dog Bite Laws

California law is generous to victims of dog bites. Some states make it difficult to sue dog owners, with “one bite laws” that force victims to prove that the owner knew the dog was aggressive. In contrast, California imposes strict liability on owners of dogs that cause injuries to others. There are some exceptions to strict liability that you should be aware of:

  • You must be lawfully on the property. Dog owners are not strictly liable to trespassers, but can still be sued for negligence.
  • Law enforcement is only strictly liable for innocent bystanders that are bitten by dogs. Suspects can only sue for negligence.
  • People taking care of a dog that are not the owners cannot be held strictly liable, but can be sued for negligence.
  • Veterinarians and kennel workers cannot sue owners for strict liability if they are bitten, as they have assumed the risk by this type of employment. They can sue the owners for negligence.
  • Owners cannot be held strictly liable when victims are partially at fault due to annoying, harassing, or provoking the animal.

Will The Dog That Bit Me Be Quarantined?

Under California Civil Code 3342.5(b), any animal that bites someone must be quarantined for ten consecutive days. In cases involving canines, the county tests the dog for rabies during the quarantine period. While the dog is usually allowed to stay on the owner’s property during the mandatory quarantine, it may be held at a county animal control center depending on the circumstances. If the dog doesn’t have rabies or any other ailment after the quarantine, the county releases it back to its owner.

Will The Animal Be Euthanized?

In most instances, dogs who bite someone in California don’t have to be euthanized. However, there are a few exceptions to this rule. According to California Civil Code 3342.5(b)(c), any person may bring an action to euthanize the dog if:

  • It is the second instance of the dog biting an individual, or
  • The dog is trained to attack or kill someone and bites someone once.

Even if a victim decides not to pursue a claim in these instances, the action may be brought by any individual concerned about the dog’s behavior. This includes neighbors or even a government official. These exceptions do not apply in cases where any dog bites a trespasser or a military/police dog bites someone in the line of duty.

Unfortunately, it is sometimes difficult to determine if the dog bit someone else in a separate incident. Our California dog bite lawyers can help by searching for any previous evidence of the dog’s behavior on your behalf.

Can I Sue If Another Dog Bites My Dog?

Although it’s rare, it’s possible to sue another dog owner if their dog attacks yours. However, you cannot sue under California’s dog bite laws. Since California considers dogs to be property, you must pursue a property damage claim instead. Under a property damage claim, a dog owner may be able to pursue the cost of treating their dog’s injuries. At Silva Injury Law, Inc., our experienced California dog bite lawyers know the complexities of situations like this, and we can help.

What Are Some Common Dog Bites Injuries?

Dog bites can cause significant permanent injuries. A dog’s jaws can be very powerful, crushing muscles and tearing skin. These are some of the common injuries caused by dog bites:

  • Fractured Bones
  • Torn Ligaments
  • Lacerations
  • Puncture Wounds
  • Traumatic Amputations
  • Disfiguring Scars
  • Infections

The dog owner is not just liable for the injuries directly inflicted by the dog, but also for any injuries sustained while running away or defending yourself. Call our California dog bite lawyers now.

What Types Of Damages Are Available To Dog Bite Victims?

Dog bite victims can collect significant sums of money for economic and noneconomic damages. Economic damages are calculable sums for the following types of expenses and losses:

  • Lost Earnings
  • Lost Future Earning Capacity
  • Doctors Fees
  • Hospital Expenses
  • Testing Costs
  • Rehabilitation Facilities
  • Physical Therapy
  • Devices and Prosthetics
  • Long Term Care

Noneconomic damages are for the subjective impact of the injuries on a person’s life such as:

  • Pain
  • Suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Psychological impact of disfigurement
  • Loss of pleasure from life
  • Inability to perform daily activities

Our experienced legal team also handles other types of cases, including:

We believe that our duty goes beyond achieving large monetary awards for our clients. We strive first to be decent human beings who seek not to stir up fights, but to solve problems.
– Abraham Lincoln


If you’re bitten by a dog, make sure to get the owner’s name, address, and phone number before leaving the scene. If you’ve been seriously injured, call 911 to call the police and an ambulance to the scene. Take pictures and videos of the owner and the dog before seeking medical treatment. It’s also a good idea to snap photos of street signs to document the exact location of the incident. Keep any paperwork you receive from medical providers to make it easier for your attorney to obtain your medical records.


Not every California personal injury attorney has experience handling dog bite cases, so be sure to choose a lawyer that specializes in this type of case. An attorney that’s handled many dog bite cases is better able to get you the largest amount of compensation possible for the injuries you sustained. At Silva Injury Law, we’re kind to our clients and tough on our opponents.