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Dog attacks have caused death, disfigurement, disability and psychological impairment.

If the dog actually bites a person, the dog owner is responsible under Civil Code Section 3342(a) known as the Dog Bite Statute. If the dog causes an injury by knocking a person down, then Negligence Law applies.

What should you do if attacked by a dog?


People who own dogs can be held responsible for the harm from a dog attacking another person, no matter how carefully they guard or restrain their dogs. To prove liability, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant owned the dog; that the dog bit the plaintiff while he or she was in a public place or lawfully on private property; that the plaintiff was harmed; and that the dog was a substantial factor in causing the plaintiff’s harm. CACI 463

dog-childEven though a dog has never shown prior viciousness, this is no defense after a dog attack. California has a leash law, however, dogs on leashes have lunged and attacked, or escaped the leash. However, if the city where the injury occurred had a leash law and the injury occurred because the dog was not leashed, negligence is presumed. It is no defense that the defendant wasn’t negligent. As with Products Liability, the law imposes strict liability for the harm that was caused. It is not necessary that the skin be broken in order for the statute to apply.


Dog Attacks Where the Animal Does Not Bite

agressive-dog-biteDogs have caused serious head and orthopedic injuries, even when they haven’t bitten the victim. These injuries usually occur when the dog knocks a person down, or the person falls while running from or avoiding the dog. Strict liability does not apply. In those situations, Negligence Law applies.


Do I need to hire an attorney?

A lawsuit will need to be filed if the dog-owner’s insurance company refuses to pay you reasonable compensation for your dog attack related injuries. Ordinarily, the plaintiff has the burden of proof to demonstrate that the defendant was negligent. This can be difficult to manage on your own as you work to heal both physically and emotional from the attack. You need experienced attorneys who are not afraid to go after the insurance company, including going to trial if necessary.

Typical Defenses in a Dog Attack Case

  • Dog was provoked by plaintiff;
  • Dog didn’t bite the plaintiff;
  • Plaintiff was not lawfully on private property;
  • It wasn’t the defendant’s dog;
  • Plaintiff was contributorily negligent.
Dog attacks are traumatic. Bringing a dog attack case to trial, however, should not be a traumatic experience for the client. The dog bite Attorneys at Cheong, Denove, Rowell & Bennett understand the trauma of a dog attack.



The attorneys at Cheong, Denove, Rowell & Bennett have authored numerous papers and have lectured to other lawyers on dog attacks, damages and trial practice.


Your dog attack injury can be a serious matter and affect your entire life. The result of any case depend upon a variety of factors unique to each case.

Follow this link to  >> Dog Attack Injury Questionnaire and tell us about your injury so we can evaluate the information you send us and answer your questions.

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