In the state of California you are strictly liable for whatever happens if your dog bites someone. Meaning, if your dog gets loose and bites someone, you are responsible for any bodily damage the other party sustains. Investigators will look at the dog’s history to see if there have been any other incidents where the dog may have bitten or attacked another person or animal. As the owner you will be liable for punitive damages as well as perhaps, reckless endangerment.
Related: California’s strict liability