California’s dog bite statute, Civil Code Section 3342, imposes “strict liability” on the owner of a dog for damages caused by its bite to someone who is not trespassing. Specifically, the law 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. 

This means the owner of a dog who bites someone is legally liable for the injuries caused by their dog’s bite, i.e., a dog owner cannot escape liability by claiming they were unaware their dog was aggressive or had a history of biting people. If you sustained injuries from a dog bite and the dog’s owner is a family member or a friend, it is important to know strict liability makes liability automatic, reducing the conflict that might have otherwise occurred between you and the dog’s owner.  



California’s dog bite statute explains:

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.

When a dog owner can show a person who suffered a dog bite on their property was trespassing at the time of the bite, it can be a complete defense to the claim of a dog bite.


Despite the wording of California’s dog bite statute that clearly limits this defense to military and police, California courts have consistently allowed dog owners to raise a provocation defense where the person who suffered a bite either provoked the dog, caused the attack via their own negligence, or assumed the risk of the attack. Defenses that are encompassed under the provocation umbrella of defenses are determined by the trier of fact, the jury, and can reduce a dog owner’s liability or eliminate it entirely. 

 There are many other defenses to dog bites that might be raised, including lack of ownership of the dog. Dog bites are particularly fact-specific claims that require careful attention to detail and knowledge of applicable law to get the best possible outcome. If you sustained injuries from a dog bite, call our team of experienced legal professionals now to see if you have a claim. 


We were able to obtain a $342,500 settlement for a client of ours who suffered a dog bite to her forearm. Read more about it, as well as some of our other case results, by clicking below.


With the increasing popularity of apps like Wag and Rover, we are seeing more claims from people who were bit by a dog being walked by someone other than its owner, as well as claims from dog walkers themselves. 

These claims can be complicated, as dog walkers are hesitant to give their clients’ contact information to a person who suffers a bite. It surprises many people who suffer a bite when they find out these apps generally will not cover their damages. The primary responsibility for a dog bite falls on the dog’s owner, though we have successfully argued otherwise. 

Another complication arises for the dog walker themselves if the dog they are walking bites them. California has a rule for veterinarians that was expanded to cover those who work around dogs that limits their ability to recover from the owner of a dog. There are several exceptions to this rule, all of which are narrow and insurance companies aggressively defend these claims. 

Put simply, if you suffered a bite from a dog that was being walked by someone working for an app like Wag or Rover or if you suffered a bite while working for one of these apps, call our team of experienced dog bite injury lawyers now to see if you have a claim. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Dog Bite Injuries

What should I do after being bitten by a dog?

After a dog bites you, wash the wound right away and do your best to stop any bleeding. Take photos of the area to prove the extent of the injury. Apply an antibiotic cream to the wound and wrap it with a sterile bandage. You may also want to seek medical attention. As you heal, continuously check for any infection.

Am I entitled to compensation for my dog bite injury?

If the dog’s owner was negligent or reckless, you might be able to obtain compensation for your medical expenses and other accident-related expenses by filing a claim against the negligent owner. Having the dog in public without a leash may be an example of negligence.

How can a dog bite injury attorney help me?

A dog bite injury attorney can investigate the accident and look for evidence that proves the dog’s owner acted negligently. Additionally, they can negotiate with insurance companies to ensure you receive a fair settlement offer. A dog bite lawyer will keep you updated on the status of your claim while you focus on recovering from your injury.

The Firm…

We are a firm of fighters who pride ourselves on our client-focused approach. Younglove Law Group focuses exclusively on personal injury cases, with an emphasis on claims involving catastrophic and fatal injuries. If your case matters to you, call us.

  • Client satisfaction is our top priority.
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Speak to a legal professional, not a salesperson. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. If you are injured, we’d love to help!

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Younglove Law Group, LLP

Toll Free (844) 810-1800

17 Corporate Plaza Drive, Suite 407, Newport Beach, CA 92660

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