Claims under the Dog Bite Statute
In California, dog bites give rise to traditional negligence claims, but also give rise to statutory claims. The statutory claim provides for strict liability against an owner of a dog that bites someone regardless of the dog’s past. This means that negligence (unreasonable conduct on the part of the dog owner) need not be proven. While there are affirmative defenses that may be asserted, such as the comparative negligence of the victim, claims associated with dog bite injuries should most times be pursued via statutory claim.
As a caution, there is a shorter limitations period for the commencement of a civil action pursuant to the dog bite statute – one year as opposed to the two year period applicable to most other personal injury claims.