Each year, thousands of people are injured due to dog bites. In California, dog bite law follows a strict liability rule, meaning that owners are almost always be held liable for injuries when their dog bites someone else.
With this in mind, it makes sense that you would immediately think to file a claim or lawsuit against the dog owner to recover your damages. However, what you may not know is that there can be more than one party potentially held liable for your damages.
Like dog owners, landlords have legal responsibilities and must make decisions as to whether dogs are allowed within the scope of their rental agreements with their tenants.
Some renter’s insurance policies cover either offer a general scope of liability for all dogs or animals; others are more specific and will not cover larger, more protective breeds like German Shepherds, pit bulls, rottweilers, or Dobermans.
While the law doesn’t automatically hold landlords automatically responsible for dog bites, they may be held liable for negligence, for instance, if the incident happened in a common area of the property and the landlord:
Knew of the dog’s viciousness or past aggression and did nothing
Failed to enforce the prohibited breeds clause
Failed their duty of keeping residents safe from the dog
Had the legal right to remove the dog from the premises or impose confinement yet did not do so
The specifics of these cases get tricky and vary on a case by case basis, which is why hiring an attorney is important in order to preserve your rights and take the best course of legal action.
Proving liability in dog bite cases relies heavily on physical evidence as well as breaking down specific insurance policies and applying the law to individual cases. At Fowler Helsel Vogt, our attorneys have years of experience in various areas of injury law including dog bites. We are dedicated to fighting for justice on your behalf so you can focus on healing the right way.
Contact our Fresno dog bite injury attorneys at (559) 900-1280 to get started on your case. We offer free, no-obligation consultations and can provide you with a phone or video consultation during the coronavirus pandemic.
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