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.

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Elizabeth Ochoa Testimonial

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