Parties Liable For Dog Bite

The biggest question which arises after a dog bite attack is who is liable and who will be responsible for damages caused to the injured. In most of the instances, the dog’s owner’s insurance is responsible for paying out the damages which were incurred.

The California Civil Code section 3342, imposes stringent liability to the dog owners for any damages suffered by a victim as the consequence of a dog bite, irrespective if the dog had shown any vicious tendencies earlier. However, there are several other probable parties which may be accounted responsible and liable for the dog bite attack.

Dog caretaker

If at the time of the attack, the dog was under the control of someone else other than the owner, this caretaker or keeper can also be considered liable for the dog attack, though not strict liability. In order to make the caretaker liable, he/she should have had prior knowledge of the dog’s vicious tendencies. A caretaker or keeper can be made liable if they were negligent in controlling the dog.

Property Owners

  • Residential: The residential property owner where the injured was attacked, can be held liable if it can be proved that the property owner had knowledge of the presence of a vicious dog on his property. Also if a dog escapes from the property because of improper fencing or security, the property owner can be held responsible and liable for the off-property injuries caused by the dog.
  • Commercial: For commercial properties, the landlord is responsible to inspect the premises stringently and discover if there are any dangerous conditions, like a vicious dog. For example, if a tenant on the commercial property has a dog, which attacks any individual, the landlord may be made liable for the same. It is the landlord’s duty to inspect the property, hence cannot avoid responsibility for injuries by claiming that he or she had no knowledge of the dog.


In some circumstances, landlords too can be held liable for damages caused due to dog attack. To make a landlord liable, you will need to prove that he had previous knowledge of the tenant’s dog’s viciousness and that he had the right to remove the dog from the premises, but did not.

Other liable parties

Other than the above, there may be many other potential liable parties in a dog attack case, like child day care centers etc. depending upon the case and situation.

In cases, where a dog owner is incapable of completely compensating the victim, identifying the other potentially responsible parties becomes critical to win a lawsuit. Hiring an experienced dog bite lawyer firm will help in investigating the actual facts regarding the dog bite attack and determine the liable parties.

As seen above, dog bites and its liability for various parties is possible in California, however attaching that liability to the party requires lot of investigations and legal analysis. People having no legal background, will be forced to deal with painful injuries and financial losses on their own.

If you your family member has been a victim of a dog bite attack, you should take action and get compensated. Our team of dedicated and experienced lawyers at Khasan Law firm, can help you file a lawsuit and help you recover all your damages including medical expenses and psychiatric expenses. You need to gain an understanding of what your legal rights are and what are the possible recovery options available for you. Contact us at 951.461.2387. today to schedule a free initial consultation.

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