In the majority of dog bite cases in California, the “one bite rule” is not used or applicable. Instead, even if the dog has never bitten anyone or displayed aggressive tendencies, state law holds dog owners completely accountable for injuries caused by their canines.
The California dog bite laws has exceptions to the strict liability rule. The one bite rule may come into play in situations where it does not apply. It might be used to demonstrate that the defendant was careless or negligent in permitting the attack to occur. They might then be held responsible for your injuries. In the event that they are held accountable, they will be required to make up for your losses.
According to the legal definition of the “one bite rule,” dog owners who knew about or should have known about a dog’s harmful tendencies are responsible for any injuries their canines cause.
The most crucial piece of information in dog bite cases is where the one bite rule gets its name. When a dog bites someone, it alerts the owner to the dog’s potentially harmful tendencies. The owner will be accountable for any more bites after being put on notice. The owner therefore ought to have anticipated them and taken preventative measures to avert them.
Example: Ronnie’s pit bull Spot aggressively bites the Amazon delivery driver on the calf, leaving red teeth marks without penetrating the skin. While the driver dismisses the even, Ronnie is on notice that Spot is capable of aggressively biting people due to that first bite.
1.1. What are the differences between the one bite rule and the strict liability rule?
The one bite rule differs from a strict liability rule for dog bites because there needs to be evidence that the owner did something illegal in the case of the one-bite rule. The owner is responsible for dog bites under strict liability laws, even if they take all reasonable precautions.
Example: Marley is a gentle and king dog who has typically never bitten people. The owner, Polly, locked Marley in a cage before her dinner party because one of her guests is terrified of dogs. If Marley escapes and unexpectedly bites a guest, Polly will be held liable subject to strict liability legislation.
In 1931, California passed a law imposing strict liability for dog bites. In California, the one bite rule was replaced by this statute, California Civil Code 3342. In dog bite situations that are not covered by this statute, the one bite rule may apply regardless.
California Civil Code 3342 is the primary dog bite regulation in the state. Due to this regulation, dog owners are strictly liable for any bites that take place in the following locations:
• In public
• Locations where the victim had a legal right to be situated
This leaves some critical exceptions to the rule that dog owners are generally responsible for dog attacks. the owner is not sued in cases where,
• The victim was an intruder on the owner’s property.
• The dog was a police animal on duty.
• The victim is partially responsible for his or her injuries, and
• The victim risked being bitten by a dog.
Whenever any of these listed exceptions apply, a victim of a dog bite cannot hold the owner strictly liable. The victim can however claim compensation for injuries resulting from a dog owner’s negligence.
• The bite rule may play an important role in California dog bite cases that fall outside the scope of Civil Code 3342. If a dog bite victim cannot rely on strict liability, they are able to leverage previous bites to hold the dog owner accountable. A previous bite may be evidence that the owner knew his dog was dangerous.
• This knowledge places significant responsibility on the owner for future bites. Common situations in which the One Bite Rule can help an injured person obtain compensation in a California personal injury case include the following scenarios:
•The bitten victim was an intruder or trespasser on private property.
•The victim worked in an occupation where he or she is at increased risk of being bitten, such as in the occupation of a veterinarian or veterinary technician.
• You are not suing the dog owner; the person you are suing does not have direct ownership of the dog
Example: Angie was bitten by a dog owned by someone who rents an apartment within the complex. Owners are confident in their judgment and there do not possess liability insurance against dog bites. Angie is suing the apartment complex, claiming she knew the dog was dangerous but did nothing.
There are a number of defenses available to dog owners who are accused of permitting a dog bite while being aware of their dog’s harmful tendencies.
The owner of a dog may contend that the victim:
• Assumed the risk of injury; and
• Contributed to their injuries by trespassing or inciting the dog to attack.
When it comes to managing dog bite situations, the one bite rule has become a minority viewpoint. The one bite rule is only formally observed in 16 states. The list of states which hold the one bite rule is as follows:
• New Mexico,
• New York,
• North Dakota,
• South Dakota,
• Virginia, and
Other states, like California, have strict liability laws. However, some people still utilize previous bites as proof of liability even when strict liability laws do not apply.
In California, dogs that have bitten people can be separated from their owners and euthanized after a hearing.
This hearing process can be initiated in the following ways:
• By order from government officials or
• Neighbors, friends, or members of the public, including dog bite victims.
Hearing proceedings are subject to be initiated if:
• A dog has bitten a person more than once, or
• The dog was bred to attack or attack people and bit one person.
The hearing will focus on whether dogs pose a threat to public safety. If a dog is identified as a threat, it will be euthanized.