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Liability for Dog Bites in Sacramento

Liability for Dog Bites in Sacramento

Dog bites are a problem in California and not only cause severe injuries but can result in the death of a dog bite victim. The state, along with Sacramento County, has laws in place meant to protect its citizens from dog bites.

Dog Bite Statistics in California

California, once again, had the highest number of dog bite claims in the nation in 2016 at 1,934, according to the Insurance Information Institute, an increase of 250 dog bites over 2015. With those dog bites and the injuries or deaths they inflict, California also holds the record for the highest average claim paid for dog bites injuries and deaths.

Liability for Dog Bites

California Civil Code Section 3342 states that individuals are liable for damages caused by a dog bite if it occurs in a public place or on at a private location if the victim was there legally. Because of this, it is referred to as a “strict liability” state. However, there is an exception. This applies to dogs used by police departments and used by the military, which cannot be held accountable. This dog bite law applies only to bites. California does not abide by the “one-bite” rule as some other states do. Under the one-bite rule, a dog owner may not be held liable if their dog bites someone, and the owner is unaware of this aggressive tendency in the animal.

Liability When the Dog Owner Is Not Insured

Other actions by a dog that cause injuries to humans such as pushing someone down or jumping up and causing an injury are covered under negligence laws in California. This may be argued that the injury occurred because the person who owned the dog was not exerting sufficient control over the animal at the time.

Sacramento Laws on Dogs

The Sacramento County zoning code allows no more than four dogs, aged six months or older, to live on any premises. Under Sacramento County Code 8.08.056, when outside the property, dogs must be kept on a leash no more than eight feet long. Exceptions are dogs used by law enforcement, dogs participating in obedience training, competition or an exhibition, herding dogs used to handle livestock and hunters accompanied by their dogs at designated areas.

Dog Bite Injuries

Dog bites cannot only result in devastating injuries, but they are also sometimes coupled with emotional harm from fear of going outdoors due to the fear of dogs. Bodily injuries may be something simple such as abrasions and scratches but can be more serious, resulting in tissue loss, broken bones, crush injuries and facial fractures. Permanent scarring may occur in some individuals and plastic surgery may be required to repair the damage. In addition, dog bites can become infected, and the victim of a dog bite is usually placed on antibiotics. In the most serious dog attacks, the victim may die. Diseases carried by dogs that can be transmitted to a human are numerous and include:

  • Campylobacteriosis
  • Rabies
  • Lyme disease
  • MRSA
  • Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever

Getting Compensation for a Dog Bite Injury

A dog attack can be physically and psychologically damaging, and recovery may take a long time. An experienced dog bite lawyer can help by dealing with the insurance company to obtain the compensation needed to pay medical bills and for lost time at work and other expenses. In the event the person who was attacked passed away as a result of their injuries, a personal injury attorney can help by filing a wrongful death lawsuit or survival action to recover damages to help the family.  

Related Links:

Time Limit to File Suit

What Is a Wrongful Death Claim?

Sacramento Dog Bite Lawyer

I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento dog bite lawyer. Dog attacks or bites can cause serious injuries and require extensive medical care. If you or your loved one has been injured due to a dog bite or other injury by a dog, please call me at (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400 for help. I can offer you my free and friendly advice about your situation.

Google, Yelp, and Avvo are review sites where you can see comments made by my former clients. Verdicts and Settlements at my website contains a list of some of my firm’s previous cases and their outcomes.

I belong to the Million Dollar Advocates as a California member. This group is only open to primary counsel lawyers with a proven record of $1 million or over in verdicts/settlements for clients.

For 35 years now, I have been privileged as an injury lawyer to represent many traumatic injury and wrongful death claims for those seeking fair compensation for their personal injuries in Northern California.

I am the owner and founder of, a comprehensive source of information on many types of California personal injuries.

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