While they are certainly the most obvious person to try holding at fault for a dog bite injury, the pet’s legal owner is not necessarily the only person who could hold civil liability for the incident. It is possible to take legal action against anyone who has some degree of responsibility for keeping the dog under control, including the owner of the property where that dog and their owner lived.
That said, landlord liability in Houston dog bite cases is based less on objective legal code and more on precedent established through past court cases dealing with similar issues. For this reason, among many others, having help from a seasoned dog bite injury attorney can be crucial to getting a favorable result from this sort of lawsuit or settlement demand.
Who Can Be Liable for a Dog Bite Injury in Houston?
Court precedent holds that dog owners without prior knowledge that their dog could be dangerous can be held liable for an injury that the dog causes if they—the owner—were “negligent” in failing to properly restrain that dog. Owners of “dangerous dogs” are strictly liable for injuries caused by their pets. In addition to a dog’s owner, though, the responsibility to keep a dog under control can fall on various other parties as well, such as a person hired to walk a dog during the day or pet-sit when the owner is out of town.
Along the same lines, a landlord can be held liable for a dog bite injury in Houston if they had some direct responsibility for keeping the dog under control. Usually, this does not mean the landlord is entirely to blame for the incident, just that they share in the blame for it and can be on the hook for a certain percentage of financial damages.
Possible Grounds for a Dog Bite Claim Against a Landlord
Generally, landlords are not liable for dog bite injuries that occur within private units or buildings rented by a dog’s owner or for dog bite injuries that occur while a dog owned by one of their tenants is “running at large” away from a property. However, landlords may be partially liable for dog bites that occur in common areas such as stairwells and hallways and in outdoor areas like private yards and parking lots.
In some situations, a landlord may be liable for failing to enforce tenant rules that would prevent someone with a dangerous dog from using the property. Likewise, the landlord may be liable for allowing a dog to escape from what the owner reasonably thought was a secure place on the property—for example, a hole in the fence surrounding a designated dog park. A Houston attorney can investigate the circumstances of a dog bite case to determine whether a landlord may bear any liability for providing compensation.
A Houston Attorney Could Further Explain Landlord Liability in Houston Dog Bite Cases
Suing a landlord over a dog bite can be even harder than suing the dog’s owner, especially if the bite led to serious injuries with long-lasting consequences. Fortunately, you have help available with establishing landlord liability in Houston dog bite cases from a tenacious legal professional with a track record of getting positive results from similar claims.
A conversation with a trusted injury attorney could give you clarity about your legal options and what you should do next. Call KGS Law Group today to schedule a meeting.