top of page


California consistently leads states in insurance claims arising from dog bites. In fact, in 2020, the state recorded 2,103 claims. Florida, the second-highest state, had only 1,235.

The severity of dog bite injuries ranges from minor to deadly. Not only do some victims need stitches or surgery, but they also often need therapy for the emotional trauma they suffer.


At Fitzgerald Law, I've been helping dog bite victims in Glendale, Burbank, Los Angeles, and throughout the San Fernando Valley and San Gabriel Valley for more than 30 years. If you have been bitten, or someone you love has been, call me today.

Premises Liability in California


Premises liability is the responsibility that property owners bear to provide a safe environment for people who are invited to enter their property. Those who are negligent in this duty can be held accountable for injuries under California law.

If you have been bitten in California, you can sue the owner under the state's dog bite law. If you were injured by a dog in some way other than a bite, for example, if a dog knocks you down and you sustain injuries, you can sue for negligence under California's tort laws.

What Is California's Dog Bite Statute?


California's dog bite statute holds dog owners strictly responsible for injuries caused when their dog bites someone. If a victim sustains injuries or dies after being bitten by a dog while you were visiting public property or were on private property with permission, the owner is liable. There is neither a need to prove the dog has bitten or been aggressive previously, nor that the owner was negligent in any way.

Owners are not legally liable if they can prove you were not bitten, you were trespassing when bitten, or you provoked the dog in some manner. Governments and the military also cannot be held liable if police or military dogs bite someone in the course of their duties. Although there are few defenses for an owner and their liability insurer to use when you assert a claim for damages suffered by a dog bite, they will attempt to prove that you provoked the animal or were trespassing when their dog attacked. You need to have an experienced and tenacious personal injury attorney in your corner.


Considerations When Making a Claim


The following are key considerations in claims related to dog bites:

  • You must prove that none of the exceptions listed previously apply to the circumstances surrounding the attack.

  • If a dog bites your dog, you cannot sue the owner under California's dog bite statute; however, you can sue under the state's property damage laws. To hold the owner liable, they must have been aware of the dog's aggressive tendencies and violated laws regarding control of their animal.

  • The injuries must have occurred from a dog bite, not from the dog injuring you in any other way, such as knocking you over.


You can pursue compensation for economic damages, including your medical expenses, lost income from time off work, and damage to your property, such as torn clothing or a mobile phone broken during the attack. You can also pursue compensation for non-economic damages such as pain and suffering and mental anguish.


California Leash Laws


The State of California does not have a leash law; however, many counties, towns, and cities do. The Los Angeles County leash law, for example, makes it illegal for dogs to run loose in public areas or on private property other than the dog owner's. Dogs must be restrained by a substantial leash no longer than six feet.

bottom of page