Are Landlords Liable for Dog Bites Sustained on Their Property?
In Florida, dog owners whose animals attack another person are held strictly liable for resulting injuries. This means that even if a dog has never bitten anyone before, or shown any signs of aggression, its owner will be required to compensate injured parties for medical expenses and lost wages related to the incident. However, landlord liability for dog bites sustained on their property is handled a bit differently, which makes it especially important for those who have been injured by someone else’s animal on their landlord’s property, to speak with an experienced dog bite attorney who can explain their legal options.
Legal Duty to Tenants
Landlords have a legal duty to protect their tenants from a vicious dog if they:
- Are aware of the animal’s aggressive tendencies;
- Maintain a degree of control over the property; and
- Did not take steps to protect tenants from the animal.
Furthermore, if a lease agreement includes rules prohibiting tenants from bringing certain breeds of dogs onto the premises, landlords can be held liable for failing to enforce those rules if:
- A tenant is later injured by that specific breed of dog; and
- The landlord knew or should have known that the dog resided on the site.
While landlords have a responsibility to protect their tenants from dangerous dogs in certain situations, they do not have a duty to third parties for injuries caused by a tenant’s dog if the injuries took place on premises other than those leased by the landlord. However, there are some scenarios where landlords can be held liable even when the injury occurs on someone else’s property. For example, in one Florida case a landlord was forced to pay a victim damages for an animal attack that took place in a park adjacent to its complex. The court reasoned that by listing the park as an amenity, the landlord essentially extended its operation to the park and so was responsible for taking reasonable steps to keep visitors safe. As a result, the landlord was required to compensate the victim for medical bills and other losses.
Pursuing a civil claim against a dog’s owner or a negligent landlord is often critical to a bite victim’s recovery, as treating these types of injuries tends to be particularly expensive. Injured parties are often required to pay for emergency treatment, antibiotics, surgery, and in serious cases, physical therapy. Fortunately, a dog’s owner can be held strictly liable for any injuries caused by his or her animal, and in some situations, landlords may also be held responsible.
Call Today to Discuss Your Case with an Experienced Dog Bite Lawyer
If you were attacked by a dog on your landlord’s property, you may be entitled to compensation for your medical bills, pain and suffering, and lost wages. To learn more about your legal options from an experienced Fort Lauderdale dog bite attorney, please contact Boone & Davis at 954-566-9919 today and a member of our legal team will be happy to help you schedule a free consultation.