Dog Bites & The Law

Legal Rights and Victims of Dog Attacks


Pasquali Law Litigation

1220 Howard Avenue
Burlingame, CA 94010



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San Mateo Peninsula: (650)579-0100

San Francisco: (415)841-1000



Insurance Claims: Auto accidents; insurance claims; bad faith denial of claims; personal injury; wrongful death.

Employment Law: Discrimination; harassment; TItle VII; wage & hour claims.

Probate Litigation: Elder abuse

Business LitigationBreach of contract

Experience Representing Victims:

  • Dog Bite
  • Personal Injury
  • Insurance Claims
  • Security Dog Attack
  • Animal Knock Downte


    Rocky was a great dog. He was a mutt, no papers... my parents got him from Pets Unlimited, and we didn’t even know what breed of parent dogs he had. Anyhow, I loved him just the same. He used to keep me company on my paper route. In 1969, my route was the business district along part of San Francisco's Mission Street, then residences down to South Van Ness Avenue.

          It didn’t occur to me until after it happened, but that little poodle inside the florist’s shop used to bark an awful lot every time I rode up on my bike, newspapers in tow. Big Old “Rocky” used to stare at her through the window while I walked in and dropped off the afternoon San Francisco Examiner. I guess that poodle hated Rocky, and by extension, me too. Then one day, faster than you’d imagine, it happened.

          The little poodle jumped up and bit me on the thigh. It broke the skin and left a welt the size of a half dollar. One of my other customers told me about the “one free bite law.” I still remember his words, “law can’t do nothin’, you should have kicked it like a football.” I didn’t know it at the time, but he was wrong.

Strict Liability

          A special law applies to injuries by dogs. It’s called “Strict Liability.” This means that the ordinary rules, requiring the injured person to prove negligence, simply don’t apply. With Strict liability, the question isn’t fault, it’s “how much” the responsible party owes. No amount of ignorance, care, prudence, or good intentions either constitutes a defense or affects the outcome of these cases. California Civil Code section 3342 makes the owner of a dog “strictly liable” for damages caused when the owner’s dog injures another person. Further, this law applies to all dog injuries, not just bites, and not just from mean animals. Many years ago, a 52 year-old woman in a park had her arm broken when a small dog, chasing another animal, accidentally crashed into her and knocked her down. In 1988, I obtained $158,000, for her from the insurance company, which represented the dog’s owners.

Injuries Can be Physical & Psychological

          When most people think of “injuries,” they think of broken bones and cuts. But “injuries” can be less visible. Especially in the case of very young children, scars can go beyond the “physical” to the psychological. Existing law compensates all. In the case of dog injuries, the owner is responsible for all injuries caused by the attack.


          If you've been involved in an auto accident, regardless of who's fault it was, you need an attorney with experience in automobile accident lawsuits. This office has represented victims of drunk drivers, pedestrians hit by cars, and families of decedents in hit and run accidents. In over 35 years, LawSuite's founding attorney, Rolando Pasquali, has experience in automobile, truck, motorcycle, pedestrian, and bicycle accident cases. As a former insurance company lawyer, he knows how the defense circles its wagons - and how to break through those defenses - on behalf of LawSuite's clients.

          With bites and scars, the location of the scar is obviously significant. Facial scars are particularly harmful to persons who rely on their appearance as a profession, models for example. Also, scars need to be watched closely for the prospect of scar “keloid” (a new excessive growth of thick fibrous tissue over the scar area). Psychological injuries can be significant, depending upon the type of incident. While not so much with older persons, very young victims can suffer from the memory of the event for years in the future.


          There's a piece of good news despite all the disturbing stuff. Because most all dog-related injuries are unintended, the dog owners insurance company will step up and make things whole. Homeowners, business, and even renters policies often cover public liability. Therefore, the victim of a dog bite has a financially sound recourse.

What You Should Do

          Get medical attention, fast. Broken bones and bites involve a substantial risk of infection. Left untreated, infections can spin out of control and lead to catastrophic results. Second, report the incident to the police. This will document that “it happened” and, hopefully, make it easier to get the name and address of the dog’s owner. Finally, if the injuries are serious, consider hiring a lawyer to formally present a claim. It’s much better to use the courts than to “kick it like a football.”

          This office proudly invites you to view testimonials from past clients, inspect a work history of hands-on courtroom experience, and read free information written at LawSuite on behalf of clients. Welcome.

Free Consultation - call Pasquali Law (650) 579-0100

A boutique law office where clients matter.


In Burlingame, California and serving the S.F. Bay Area cities of San Francisco, Antioch, Berkeley, Concord, Fairfield, Santa Rosa, Sunnyvale, Vallejo, Alameda, Alamo, Albany, American Canyon, Ashland, Bay Point, Belmont, Benicia, Blackhawk-Camino Tassajara, Brentwood, Campbell, Capitola, Castro Valley, Cherryland, Clayton, Cupertino, Danville, Dixon, Dublin, East Palo Alto, El Cerrito, El Sobrante, Foster City, Gilroy, Half Moon Bay, Healdsburg, Hercules, Hillsborough, Hollister, Lafayette, Larkspur, Live Oak, Livermore, Los Altos, Los Gatos, Martinez, Menlo Park, Mill Valley, Milpitas, Moraga, Morgan Hill, Mountain View, Napa, Newark, North Bay, Novato, Oakley, Orinda, Pacifica, Palo Alto, Peninsula, Petaluma, Piedmont, Pinole, Pittsburg, Pleasant Hill, Pleasanton, Rohnert Park, San Anselmo, San Bruno, San Carlos, San Leandro, San Lorenzo, San Mateo, San Pablo, San Rafael, San Ramon, Santa Cruz, Saratoga, Scotts Valley, South Bay,, Stanford, Suisun City, Tamalpais-Homestead Valley, Union City, Vacaville, Walnut Creek, Watsonville, Windsor, and Marin County, San Francisco County, San Mateo County, Santa Clara County, Monterey County, Alameda County, Contra Costa County, Solano County, and Napa County.