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Owner Liability for Dog Bites or Animal Attacks

When people live in a rental agreement, they often assume that if they are injured by the property while leasing, they can file suit against the landlord. However, most state laws limit the types of suits owners and landlords may be held liable for. While only a few states hold property owners responsible for dog attacks, most states do hold them liable for injuries caused by common household pets. Property owners may be liable for injuries caused by a dog bite only if they knew or should have known that the animal was dangerous or a threat. A landlord’s liability is limited to damages caused by the landlord’s negligence, while property owners’ liability is limited to damages caused by the owner’s negligence.

Is a Pet Owner Liable for Injuries and Damage Caused by their Pets?

Owners are not held liable for any direct injury or damage caused by their pets. If an owner is compensated for injuries, damages, and medical expenses from an animal bite, the owners may also be eligible for compensation from their homeowners’ insurance or disability insurance policy. Many landlords who lease property where an incident occurs will require a signed indemnity form that waives liability for the injury, damage, and related expense. A landlord’s insurance may be used to reimburse the tenant if injuries occur and damages are found to be the result of an animal bite, as property owners typically carry dog bite liability insurance.

The purposes of the laws that hold landlords and property owners liable for injuries or damage caused by pets are to discourage negligent conduct and to compensate victims. Therefore, it is important to focus on the type of court that has jurisdiction over the property where an incident occurs. The courts of choice are a local state, county, or city court or a small claims court.

What’s the Liability of a Dog Owner?

The liability of dog owners is that they must pay for any injuries or damage caused by his/her dog. If the dog attack victim is injured and requires medical attention, then the medical expenses need to be paid for by the dog owner. If a person is injured or has suffered property damage, he/she has to report the incident to the proper authorities (such as law enforcement) in order to file a claim against the dog owner. The dog owner usually has a homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy. The injured person will have to file a claim against the insurance provider in order for the victim to be compensated for injuries and property damage. The amount of compensation will depend on the state’s liability laws and how severe the victim’s injuries and property damage are. If the owner is negligent or if the owner has allowed his/her dog to roam freely, then he or she may be liable for any injuries or damage caused by the dog.

What Are Defenses to Dog Bite Claims?

The dog owner might have a defense to a personal injury claim if the dog had a right to be on the property at the time of the incident. If the dog owner has insurance, then he/she may have to adhere to his/her insurance policy, which states that you may be liable for your dog’s actions. The owner should have kept control over his or her dog and should have known that his or her policies are in effect and applicable to him or her.

The owner should also have kept the dog on a leash and should have been able to control it when danger or harm was present. The owner would be liable for the injury that occurred if it is proven that the dog was dangerous if the owner failed to exercise reasonable care with his or her animal and did not warn others of its danger, even if an animal bite occurs while off-leash if the owner knew or should have known that his or her dog posed a threat he/she would be liable.

Can Veterinarians Sue Pet Owners for Their Injuries?

Veterinarians and other professionals who treat injured animals may be able to receive compensation from the animal’s owner for their expenses. The amount of compensation that can be requested is limited by the laws of the state where the incident occurred. Veterinarians and other professionals who provide care to animals are often required to have a liability insurance policy that covers injuries suffered by animals in their care. The level of coverage provided will depend on the state’s liability laws. In order for a veterinarian to be compensated for injuries or damages caused by an animal bite, it is important for the veterinarian to document all injuries.


In order to win a dog bite personal injury case against an owner, it is necessary to prove that the owner knew or should have known that the dog was dangerous. The victim will have to prove that he or she suffered injuries as a result of the dog attack and that it was the owner’s responsibility to control his or her dog and warn others about its danger.

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