Posted on Friday, January 15th, 2016 at 4:07 am    

Can I Be Held Responsible if My Tenant’s Dog Bites Someone?

It is estimated that 4.5 million dog bites occur each year in the United States. Dog bites are not a minor injury. One in five dog bites become infected requiring painful, long-term treatment. Victims of dog bites suffer great physical pain, scarring, disfigurement, permanent disabilities, and mental anguish. In 2014, the Los Angeles Times reported that California insurance companies received 1,919 dog bite claims for the previous year, which placed California as the top state for the cost of dog bites during that year. With statistics like these, it is no wonder that landlords fear being held responsible if a tenant’s dog bites someone.

What Does California’s Dog Bite Laws Say?

California dog bite laws utilize strict liability to hold the dog owner responsible if his or her dog bites another person. According to CVC §3342, a dog owner is strictly liable for damages caused by a dog attack or a dog bite. By making the owners strictly liable, dogs do not get a “first pass” or “free bite” — the owner is responsible for damages from a dog bite even if the dog has never bitten or attached another person or displayed any violent tendencies.

When is the Landlord Responsible for Damages when a Tenant’s Dog Bites Someone?

Landlords already face many challenges if they allow pets in their rental units. Pets can cause damage to the rental property that a security deposit may not coverage. Pets can also make it much more difficult to rent the unit to new tenants who do not want a home that housed pets before they rented the unit. With the added anxiety about whether the landlord will be responsible for damages if a tenant’s dog bites someone, many landlords have decided to make all of their units pet-free.

Because most renters to not purchase renter’s insurer and do not have the assets available to pay the damages when their dog bites another person, victims look to the landlord to pay the damages. Landlords typically have insurance that will cover this type of liability or they have sufficient assets to pay the victim’s damages. California courts have ruled that landlords may be held liable if their tenant’s dog bites someone if the landlord did not terminate the rental agreement, if possible, when the landlord discovered the dog had violent tendencies.

What Should a Person Do if a Tenant’s Dog Bites Someone?

If you or a loved one has been bitten by a dog, your first priority is immediate medical assistance. After taking care of your health, you need to determine who owns the dog and who owns the property. If the dog owner does not own the property, contact our office immediately.

Dog bite cases against landlords are complex and these cases are difficult to prove. Our Sacramento dog bite attorneys have experience handling complicated dog bite cases. We want to begin protecting your best interests and fighting for your right to compensation for your damages immediately. Regardless of the circumstances of the dog bite or dog attack, including who owns the property, you need an experienced dog bite attorney to protect your rights.

Contact an Experienced Sacramento California Dog Bite Attorney

Contact Tiemann Law Firm for your free consultation with one of our Sacramento dog bite lawyers. Call our toll free number (916) 999-9000 or chat with a representative on our website. We represent clients in Sacramento and Folsom and the surrounding suburbs of Roseville, Elk Grove, West Sacramento, El Dorado Hills, and Rancho Cordova.

Client Testimonials

Jennifer T. Testimonial

I highly recommend The Tiemann Law Firm! I had never before been in a situation where I sustained injury and had to seek legal representation. I was nervous, traumatized, and had no idea what to expect. Jelena, Peter, and their staff walked me through each step of the process. They explained everything in detail. They patiently answered all my questions, responded quickly to every email, text message, phone call, etc. I felt totally prepared for each new phase of the legal process. Furthermore, they were fearless in their defense of me. In certain situations, when I felt attacked or scared my attorney protected me like I was family. Their diligence, honesty, integrity, and compassion provided a true sense of healing and closure for my family and I. The Tiemann Law Firm accomplished more for me than I ever thought possible and I am forever grateful.

S.B. Testimonial

Here's the thing... Nobody really thinks much about lawyers until they need one.  Well, we needed one!  The Tieman Law Firm came through for us in a big way. They were professional, courteous, thorough, and had excellent staff as well.  Highly recommended...

Jereme S. Testimonial

No one wants to have to hire a lawyer, but if you do. I prefer Tiemann Law. They helped a family member who was injured on the job, and the company did not want to compensate him even though, the injury occurred on the job on company time. Jelena was always professional in explaining the lengthy process of fighting a large corporation. 2 years later he finally is receiving the deserved compensation.

Hanna Padilla Testimonial

From the very start of my case the Tiemann Law Firm was wonderful. Perter came all the way to my home to sit down and talk to me about my options. He made me and my partner feel very comfortable and promised us he would take the very best care of my case. Peter kept me informed every step of the way and was always on top of things. everything was done in a timely manor and I always felt like I was the only case he was working on because he was so fast. In the end Peter got me back way more money than I ever expected. I would recommend this law firm to everyone. I am very happy with the outcome of my case thanks to the Tiemann Law Firm! Thank you!

Matt H. Testimonial

I was in a car accident a while back where I was injured and had to miss work for an extended period of time.  After nearly a year of fighting with the insurance company with no results and no progress, I met with Jelena Tiemann.  I couldn't have asked for a more responsive and supportive advocate.  We quickly reached a settlement and I finally was able to move from the stress and burden of feuding with my insurance.  I highly recommending meeting with Jelena if you're in need of a lawyer.