My dog got off leash and may have bitten someone

My boyfriend was walking my dog and she slipped her harness and ran towards a leashes dog. We don’t know if she bit the dog or started the fight since the other dog wasnt injured. The other dog but mine and caused minor injury. The other dog’s owner and my dog were trying to pull the dogs apart. The other owner kept telling his dog to release since it was clamped on my dogs ear. They finally separated and the guy had a small bite on this hand. We don’t know what dog but him. It was a small injury but his girlfriend called an ambulance for some reason. Information was exchanged. I’m wondering if we can be held liable if they claim is was our dog and what defense we have. Our dog is a rescue that has never escaped her harness before and has never bitten anyone.

Asked on November 2, 2017 under Personal Injury, California


S.L,. Member, California Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

As a dog owner, you are liable for injuries caused by your dog. Your liability would include the medical bills of the person bitten and pain and suffering which is an amount in addition to the medical bills.
If the case is settled with the person bitten, NO lawsuit is filed.
If the case is NOT settled, you will be sued for negligence which is the failure to exercise due care (that degree of care that a reasonable dog owner would have exercised under the same or similar circumstances to prevent foreseeable harm).
Your defense is assumption of the risk which means the person bitten recognized and understood the danger and voluntarily chose to encounter it by attempting to separate the fighting dogs.

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