When a dog bites or attacks a victim, a dog bite attorney will want to determine who may be at fault. In New Jersey, landlords have a responsibility to act if they know of an animal being a danger to others (even to the dog owner) and they do not take measures to remove the dog from the property. They may also be responsible if they were caring for the dog at the time of the attack.
In most cases, the dog owner is responsible for the behaviour of their dog. The dog owner is then also responsible for any damages their pet causes to the property and liable for injuries.
If the landlord knew a dog was a danger to others and did not attempt to remove the animal from the premises, they may be liable for the damages that dog causes. An example may be if a dog has already attacked or shown aggression towards someone. This would show this is a dangerous animal. If a dog has already attacked someone and the landlord is aware of that attack, they may be responsible for all or part of the damages, depending on the circumstances. The landlord should be actively managing all dangerous situations on the property.
A landlord may also be held partially liable for dog bites if they were caring for an animal at the time of the attack. In this case, the landlord would have control over the dog. If a landlord assumes care for a dog (feeding the dog, walking the dog, etc) and is aware the animal can be vicious, the landlord could be considered partially responsible for injuries the dog inflicts.
The responsibility of the dog bite will usually be with the dog’s owner. In most cases, it will fall to the owner of an animal to make sure their dog does not pose a threat to others. Even if the dog owner took reasonable steps to secure the dog and/or warn others of the dog; if the dog attacks they have a responsibility to the victim in that attack.
The ability to sue a landlord if you are bitten by a tenant’s dog is not applicable in all dog bite cases. These cases can be quite complex. It is best to speak to an attorney that understands dog bite laws, before speaking to any other individuals or insurance companies involved in the case. Contact experienced dog bite attorney, David J Cowhey to discuss your case or for a free consultation.