Liability In Dog Bite Cases

Dog Bite Cases

In most cases, it is the dog owner that is legally responsible for any dog bite that appears, together with other possible injuries that were caused by the owned animals. However, it is also possible that someone else is liable, usually together with the owner. Detroit dog bite lawyers always look at all parties involved in order to be fully aware of who bears the fault of the incident.

Besides the dog owner, it is also possible that the following parties can be considered at fault in specific situations.

Harborers and Keepers

Common law dictates that owners are liable for all injuries caused by pets in the event that they knew the animals were dangerous or they were negligent. The person that takes care of the dog is considered to also be liable, just like legal owners. In some states, the definition of the owner is actually someone who keeps the dog, not necessarily the legal owner. This includes people that harbor animals.

What is important to realize here is that local laws vary. It is important to be aware of what applies where you live or where the incident happens.

Temporary Caretakers

If you are a house sitter or a dog sitter, you temporarily take care of someone else’s animal. In this case, you are considered to be the keeper of the animal for a duration. However, individual circumstances can be very important.

As an example, if you agree to dog sit the neighbor’s dog and he bites you, it is impossible to claim personal injury. This is because you agreed that you will sit the dog. The exact same goes for walking or feeding dogs.

Professional Caretakers

When you assume the responsibility of taking care of dogs and this is your job, you are considered to be the keeper. This is a rule that applies to various professionals, like:

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  • Kennel operators
  • Groomers
  • Dog walkers
  • Shelter employees
  • Vet technicians

Parents and Children

When someone under the age of 18 takes care of a dog or is the owner, the parents of the minors are usually liable for dog bite injuries. There are laws that specifically dictate this. In addition, in some US states, there are laws making parents responsible (up to a specific limited extent) for damages caused by minor children.

Parents might not be viable when some unusual circumstances appear though. For instance, when an animal hospital is taking care of the dog of the minor, it is the hospital that becomes the animal’s keeper.

Landlords and Property Owners

Landlords do not control the dogs of their tenants and are normally not liable. However, in some cases, they are if they were aware of the fact that the animal was dangerous and allowed it on the property. In the case of property owners and landlords, state laws vary.

Dogs at Work

When you are allowed by the employer to bring your dog to work, the court does not see the employer as being the dog’s keeper. However, results can be different when the dog is benefiting the employer in some manners. The same applies if employees live with dogs on the property of the employer. When hurt while at work by the dog of the employer, legal options tend to be limited.

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