A lawyer at Buckfire & Buckfire, P.C. might be able to help if you were bitten by a dog owned by a tenant on a rental property. Unfortunately, these injuries are often severe and may result in nerve damage, fractured bones, and even permanent disfiguring scars. Furthermore, the ensuing medical bills and potential inability to work may make your situation feel hopeless.
However, by working with an experienced attorney, you could better understand landlord liability in Michigan dog bite attacks, and determine where legal liability might lie. Then, you could have a legal professional by your side through each step of the ensuing legal process as you pursue compensation.
Legal Rights After Being Attacked By a Tenants Dog
Often, a person is attacked and injured by a dog after they have lawfully entered someone else’s property. This might be under a number of circumstances, such as when someone is invited as a social guest. However, other times, a person might be bitten by a dog when they were simply walking alongside someone’s property, without entry.
Typically, the dog owner is responsible for any injuries caused in an attack. However, there are often situations in which a tenant of an apartment complex owns a dog in an attack, which might complicate the claims process. Under these circumstances, the question becomes whether the tenant and owner of the dog, or the landlord of the property, is liable.
Many people ask if a dog owner is always liable for a bite in Michigan. While this is usually true, a landlord could also be held liable for a tenant’s dog under certain circumstances. For example, if a tenant does not have liability insurance, renter’s insurance, or other assets to satisfy a judgment against them for the damages caused by their pet, a landlord could bear liability for a dog bite attack.
Can Michigan Landlords be Held Liable for Dog Bites?
A Michigan landlord can be held liable for a bite inflicted by a tenant’s dog under certain circumstances. However, in order to hold the landlord liable, several legal conditions must apply regarding awareness, response, and where the injury happened. Specifically, these elements include:
- Was the landlord aware of the dangerousness of the tenant’s dog—for example, has the animal attacked or tried to attack someone in the past, and was landlord made aware of it? Or, has the landlord witnessed the dangerous tendencies of the dog before?
- Was the landlord’s response to a knowledge of dangerousness unreasonable—if the landlord knew of the dangerousness of the dog, did he or she take reasonable steps to prevent injuries by the dog? Such as erecting proper walls, posting warnings, or requiring a tenant to take certain preventative actions
- Was the person injured by the dog on the property or next to the property—courts will often take the location of the incident into account. Where a person was attacked while lawfully on the property or next to it, the landlord would most likely be liable. However, if the attack takes place at a location farther away from the property, it would be more difficult or even impossible to hold a landlord responsible
Essentially, it must be shown that the landlord had a duty of care that they subsequently breached, and that this breach was the proximate cause of a dog attack that injured the claimant. If a landlord is found to be liable, their homeowner’s insurance company will usually pay a settlement to the injured claimant. Therefore, injured parties do not have to worry about a landlord having to pay out of pocket costs. This may be helpful in keeping an amicable relationship.
Call a Lawyer to Discuss Landlord Liability in Michigan Dog Bite Attacks
After a dog bite, you may be facing missed time from work and an extensive recovery period, complete with a pile of medical bills. Depending on the circumstances of an attack, you may be able to recover financial compensation.
However, navigating the legal system alone and determining landlord liability in a Michigan dog bite attack is often confusing and overwhelming for underprepared claimants. By working with a seasoned Michigan lawyer, you could rest assured that a legal professional is on your side. Call today for a consultation.
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