Is a landlord liable if a tenant’s dog attacked somebody?

Categorized: Personal Injury

Is a landlord liable if a tenant’s dog attacked somebody?

In most cases, it is the dog owner or tenant who can be held liable when his or her dog attacks someone – not the landlord. There are, however, exceptions to this general rule. If you or your loved one was attacked by a renter’s dog, you will want to call a dog bite attorney in your area to discuss liability and to pursue a claim.

Liability for Tenants’ Dog Attacks

If you were bitten by or attacked by a dog that belonged to a tenant, the primary course of action will be to file a claim with the dog owner’s renter’s liability insurance company. But there are certain factors that could apportion some or all of the blame (and therefore, liability) onto the landlord. A landlord might be responsible for damages after one of his or her tenant’s dogs attacked someone if either type of the following situation occurred.

  • The landlord knew the tenant had a dangerous dog on the premises and could have had the dog removed, but did not.
  • The landlord knew the gate or fencing meant to keep the dog secure was defective and failed to fix it.

In other words, if the landlord knew about the danger but made no effort to amend it, he or she might be liable. Otherwise, it is the tenant/dog owner who holds liability for a victim’s damages after a dog attack.

In Gallick v. Barto, District Judge McClure noted: “In Pennsylvania, the general rule is that a landlord out of possession is not liable for injuries caused by animals kept by tenants when the tenant has exclusive control of the premises.” The exception, McClure said, is when “the landlord has knowledge of the presence of the dangerous animal and where he or she has the right to control or remove the animal by retaking possession of the premises.”

Seeking Restitution for Damages

Damages for dog attacks can be substantial. If a dog injured you or your child, you will want to talk to a lawyer about your legal options for recovery. In most cases, an insurance company will pay for your damages; it usually will not come from the landlord or tenant’s pocket. You might be able to obtain compensation for a wide range of damages, including medical bills, future reconstructive surgeries, post-traumatic stress disorder and other emotional harms, lost wages, disfigurement, and pain and suffering.

For a free consultation with a dog attack attorney in Pennsylvania, contact Cordisco & Saile LLC. We can help identify who should be held liable for your injury and can help you pursue the maximum amount of compensation possible. Call us today at 215-642-2335 or contact us online and schedule a free consultation.

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