The neighbor’s dog attacked my child and bit her, even though it’s never bitten anybody before. Are they still liable even though they did not know their dog might bite?
Yes. Although some states follow a “one free bite” rule, California does not. Rather, California imposes strict liability on dog owners when their animal bites or attacks someone. This applies to any bite that occurred on public property, or even on private property if the victim was lawfully on the property at the time. It doesn’t matter whether the owners had any knowledge or belief that their dog may be dangerous. They may, however, try to say that your daughter provoked the dog into attacking. You should talk to an attorney about how to proceed with a claim. Your neighbor’s homeowner’s policy should cover them in this situation.