Need Legal Help?

Our Blog

Not Just The Dog Owner: Potential Defendants In Dog Bite Cases
September 15, 2018 by Michael Rott
Categories : Dog Bite
Defendants In Dog Bite Cases

Did you know that the owner of the dog that bites you is not the only party that could potentially be held liable for your injuries? Thankfully, California imposes a strict liability statute that holds dog owners liable for the injuries caused by their dogs. However, other parties could also be held liable, depending on the circumstances in your particular case.

What does California law say about dog bites?

Under California law, you are entitled to financial compensation regardless of where the dog attack occurred. Our accomplished  San Diego dog bite attorney at Hiden, Rott & Oertle , LLP, explains that the strict liability statute applies when a dog bite occurred in a public place or private property.

However, you must establish that you had a right to be on that private property lawfully when the dog bite occurred. In other words, as long as you were performing a lawful duty or were on the property through express or implied invitation, you do have a right to sue the dog owner for the dog attack.

Those who own, control, take care or have custody of the dog

While it is true that the strict liability statute in California only applies to the dog owner, other laws may also hold other parties liable for dog attacks. Thus, you can bring a personal injury claim against anyone who owns, controls, takes care of or has custody of the animal as long as these parties failed to take reasonable precautions to prevent the attack.

Property owner

If a dog bite occurred on a private property and the owner of that dog is a tenant and is not on the property at the time of the attack, the property owner may be held liable for your injuries. Property owners can also be held responsible for dog bites in other situations.

Animal shelters

When animal shelters have possession of a dog, and/or are responsible for the dog’s safekeeping, it will be held liable for any injuries caused by that dog. More often than not, an animal shelter – either a member or its staff – are held liable for injuries caused when the dog escapes and injures someone.

Animal keepers

When an individual, commonly referred to as an animal keeper, assumes the responsibility to manage, control or care for a dog, and the dog subsequently injures some other person, the animal keeper can be held liable for the dog attack.


Under California law, a person under 18 cannot be held liable for injuries in the event of a dog bite. Therefore, if the handler of the dog that injured you is a child, that child’s parents can potentially be held liable.


Unless your employer carries workers’ compensation insurance, you, as a victim of a dog bite caused by your employer’s dog, may be able to sue the employer under the strict liability dog statute.

Depending on the party you are suing in a dog bite case, you should be aware of different types of pitfalls and potential legal challenges. That is why it is important to consult with an experienced San Diego dog bite attorney and speak about your particular case. Schedule a free consultation by calling Hiden, Rott & Oertle , LLP, at 619-630-0205 or complete this contact form.

Knockout Firm

To schedule a FREE initial consultation with a San Diego personal injury attorney,
Call Hiden, Rott & Oertle LLP today AT 619-630-0205