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Oakland Personal Injury > Blog > Animal Dog Bite > Is California a “One Bite Rule” State for Dog Bite Claims?

Is California a “One Bite Rule” State for Dog Bite Claims?


Most dogs live up to their nickname as “Man’s Best Friend,” but there are some canines that are prone to bite, attack, or cause other injuries to humans. Statistics from PetPedia.com, an online resource for information for pet owners, are proof that some furry friends can be dangerous. There are approximately 4.7 million people bitten by dogs every year, and more than 344,000 of them seek medical treatment in hospital emergency rooms for their injuries. Victims suffer horrific physical pain, but there are other implications as well. The emotional toll of an animal attack can be life-changing.

Fortunately, California law provides you with options if you suffered a dog bite, so you may be able to recover compensation for your losses. These cases can be complicated, however, because of application of the “one bite rule” and how it may affect your rights. A skilled Oakland dog bite lawyer can explain the relevant legal concepts, but you can read on for some background information.

Liability in California Dog Bite Claims: California is one of a few US states that applies a strict liability theory for dog bite injuries by statute. The law states that the owner of a dog is liable for the damages caused to any person who is injured in the attack, regardless of whether the animal had been vicious in the past or the owner knew about viciousness. The statute is the opposite of the “one bite rule” that applies in other jurisdictions, in which you must show that the dog had previously bitten someone or evidenced aggression.

Compensation in California Dog Bite Cases: Because your claim is a type of personal injury case, you may be entitled to recover two types of monetary damages for your losses.

  1. Economic damages are available to cover your medical costs for treatment, including surgery, hospitalization, physical therapy, reconstructive surgery, medications, and other care. Lost wages are also included in this category.
  2. You may be able to obtain non-economic damages, which are more subjective in nature. Examples include amounts for pain and suffering, scarring, and emotional distress.

Limitations in California Dog Bite Cases: The state dog bite statute does include some exceptions to strict liability in dog bite claims, in which you may lose your rights or compensation based upon your own actions. The defenses and limitations include:

  • You cannot recover any monetary damages if you were trespassing on private property when the animal attacked; and,
  • Your compensation may be reduced under the theory of contributory negligence, such as if you were provoking or annoying the dog when it lashed out.

Our Oakland Dog Bite Attorneys Can Explain Your Options 

Our lawyers at Venardi Zurada, LLP understand that an animal attack can be physically devastating and emotionally traumatic, leading to extensive losses. We are committed to helping you with the legal process to obtain monetary damages, so please contact our offices right away. We can schedule a free case evaluation with an Oakland animal & dog bite lawyer who can describe your legal remedies in more detail.

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  • We have served Northern California for over 35 years.

  • Our attorneys have been honored with numerous accolades, including SuperLawyers, AV Rating, and Top 100 Trial Attorney Awards.

  • In our decades of legal service to the community, we have garnered a substantial reputation. We are respected by opposing counsel, feared by insurance companies, and followed by jurors.

  • We combine Big Firm experience with boutique office attention and care. Several of our attorneys have experience working for the biggest law firms in the country, including the most prominent maritime defense law firm. Our attorneys rely on that big-firm know-how but prefer the personal touch of a smaller firm, allowing us to provide individualized and attentive representation to each of our clients.

  • We’ve been through it, too. Attorney Mark Venardi had to personally deal with a medical malpractice injury he suffered at a time when he was working a blue-collar job on an offshore oil rig; he knows what it’s like to be a working man dealing with a personal injury. He built his way up to working for the biggest maritime defense firm in the country, before deciding to focus on helping people like himself who were hurt by negligence and mistreatment from others.

  • We like to fight for the underdog. Attorney Martin Zurada is an immigrant and the son of immigrants who tirelessly worked his way up through education and experience to attain the American dream. Even though he has served in large, high-level litigation law firms, he prefers helping clients directly, fighting against injustices, and securing victories for the little guy who has been wronged.

  • We win. We have secured multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements. In our combined tenure, we have recovered tens of millions of dollars for our clients across our broad areas of practice.

  • We care first and foremost about our clients. We dedicate ourselves to serve each and every client personally, and we make ourselves available to our clients around the clock.

  • There is no cost to you until we win. If we don’t make a recovery for you, we will not collect a fee. And all initial consultations are free of charge.

Dedicated Areas of Practice

We offer a wide range of litigation services for Oakland personal injury and employment law clients. Specifically, our areas of dedicated practice span the following issues:

Employment Law. California employers must assure proper pay to employees and comply with a variety of rules and regulations to prevent discrimination and unfair treatment of employees. We represent victims of wage and hour violations, employment discrimination, workplace harassment, retaliation, wrongful termination, and any other form of California workplace mistreatment. If you believe you were treated inappropriately at work, we can help.

Personal Injury. If you’ve been injured due to another’s negligence, you deserve compensation. That’s where we come in. As Oakland personal injury attorneys, we right the wrongs done to our clients. And we do it at our cost during the entire duration of your case. There is never any fee until we win. Give us a call if you have been hurt in a car accident, by a toxic spill or contamination, as a result of medical malpractice, due to abuse or neglect, in a maritime accident, by a vicious animal attack, or any other incident caused by someone else’s negligence.

The Sooner You Speak to an Oakland Injury Lawyer, the Stronger Your Chances for Recovery Will Become.

Contact the Oakland injury lawyers at Venardi Zurada today, and let’s get started. We are available to talk any time, so whether you call, email or chat online, we’ll respond and set up an appointment to meet you. We have several Spanish speakers in the office and welcome the opportunity to cater our services to Oakland’s Spanish-speaking population. You pay no fee until we win for you, so you have nothing to lose by contacting our office for a free consultation. The sooner you call, the faster we can start getting results for you. Call 925-937-3900.

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