Can Landlords be Held Liable for Bite Injuries from a Tenants Dog?
Category: Personal Injury
Dogs are the favorite animal for companionship in thousands of homes around the country. They’re loyal, cute, loveable and a pleasure to have around. Despite all the good that comes with dog ownership, there are thousands of people injured from dog bites in the United States every year. In most instances, the owners of the dog are held responsible for those injuries and may need a personal injury lawyer. What most landlords don’t realize is that there are times when they can be held liable as well. This is something that every landlord should understand and prepare for before renting out a property that allows dogs.
Liability Isn't Always Clear for Dog Bite Injuries
During bite incidents involving a dog, the owner of that dog is almost always held liable for the issue. The degree of liability depends on the situation and the state that the bite occurs in. In some states, a dog owner is held 100% liable for a dog-inflicted injury no matter the circumstances. In other states, dog owners are held partially responsible depending on how well they know the animal and how long they have had them.
Liability Without Insurance, or Without Adequate Coverage
While the dog owners and renters are almost always held responsible for dog bites first, there are opportunities for a landlord to be included in a lawsuit as well. This is most common when a tenant doesn't have renter's insurance, they don't have enough coverage to cover the total damage inflicted or the policy doesn't cover dog bites. The bite victim can ask to have the landlord included in the case as well when the renter doesn't have the funds to cover the lawsuit on their own.
While the dog owners and renters are almost always held responsible for dog bites first, there are opportunities for a landlord to be included in a lawsuit as well. This is most common when a tenant doesn’t have renter’s insurance, they don’t have enough coverage to cover the total damage inflicted or the policy doesn’t cover dog bites. The bite victim can ask to have the landlord included in the case as well when the renter doesn’t have the funds to cover the lawsuit on their own.
Landlords That Allow Aggressive Dogs can be Held Responsible
In cases where landlords have information that a dog is aggressive and the landlord still allows the dog to remain in the property it’s possible they can be held responsible if someone else is injured. That’s why it’s up to a landlord to take action to remove a known aggressive dog whenever possible. It’s always unpleasant telling a renter to remove their dog, but it’s more unpleasant to be held responsible if someone is hurt at your property.
This is also true for landlords that allow dog breeds that are known for being aggressive to live in the space. Many times dogs like German Shepherds, Pit bulls and Rottweilers cannot be covered by renter’s insurance while other dog breeds might qualify for coverage under the policy. This is the reason that many landlords won’t allow specific breeds of dog to live in the space, they aren’t interested in taking on additional liability by doing so.
Helping to Care for the Dog Can Also Lead to Liability
When landlords take on pet-owner duties such as feeding a renter’s pet while they are away or walking the dog they are more likely to be held liable during a dog bite lawsuit as well. That’s why it’s important for landlords to have clear pet rules and to avoid caring for the animals to avoid these liability pitfalls.
Landlords Should Ensure Adequate Insurance is in Place
As the landlord, it's important to have quality homeowner's insurance to offer some protection and to make the renter get renter's insurance that covers against pet injuries if they have pets. Tenants without the right amount of insurance coverage could put you at risk without the right insurance policy as protection. That's why insurance and strict pet rules need to be in place before allowing a dog owner to move in.
As the landlord, it’s important to have quality homeowner’s insurance to offer some protection and to make the renter get renter’s insurance that covers against pet injuries if they have pets. Tenants without the right amount of insurance coverage could put you at risk without the right insurance policy as protection. That’s why insurance and strict pet rules need to be in place before allowing a dog owner to move in.
Dog Bite Victims Can Try to Include the Landlord for Greater Compensation
If you’re a dog bite victim and the owner of the dog isn’t offering adequate compensation or simply can’t afford to compensate you, you may be able to include the landlord on the lawsuit as well. Speak with a personal injury attorney about how you might be able to add the landlord to the case and increase your potential payout and the overall outcome of the case.
Get Help from a Proven Personal Injury Attorney
If you’re facing dog bite charges, or you’ve been injured by a dog and you’re looking for legal compensation you should invest in a qualified personal injury attorney to help you through your case.
An experienced personal injury attorney will be able to explain your potential liability in the situation if you’re being included in a dog bite injury case. The attorney can also help you learn how to get the most compensation from a dog bite if you were the one that was injured. Working with a high-quality attorney will greatly improve your legal outcome whether you are trying to avoid paying in money due to liability charges, or you are trying to get as much money as possible from the case.
As a landlord that allows dogs in your properties, it’s also a good idea to hire a personal injury attorney before you run into a dog bite incident to make sure you have the necessary protections in place to prevent a lawsuit from being possible. This means looking into the different pet laws for your property, the paperwork that tenants must sign and the insurance coverage that you’ll have for your investment.
The right attorney will know how to handle all these different requirements and make sure that you are protected and ready to invest in the business as well.
Here at Tuley Law, we have personal injury attorneys that can help explain your situation and ensure that you have the protection you need against lawsuits. Dog bite injury cases can be expensive, time-consuming and troublesome to deal with. We know just how troubling it can be to be injured by a dog as well. Whether your a landlord or dog owner facing charges or you’re attempting to obtain compensation after being bit by a dog yourself, we can help you through your case toward the best possible outcome for you.
Check out our most recent blog post: What is a Letter of Protection?
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