Who Can Be Held Liable For A Dog Bite?

One of the most important steps in any personal injury case is to identify the person or persons responsible for the injury. You may not get the compensation you are entitled to if you don't go after the right person. When it comes to a dog bite, some of the potential responsible parties include:

Dog Owner

A dog owner has the responsibility of keeping his or her animal doesn't interfere with the safety and well-being of other people. For example, all animal owners must ensure that their animals are:

  • Under their control at all times
  • Obey their commands
  • Not left free where there are children
  • Keeping local pet rules

The owner may be held responsible for a bite if it is found that they did not take reasonable care to prevent it.

 Dog Keeper

Any person caring for a dog may be held responsible for an injury even if he or she isn't the owner of the animal. Examples include:

  • A relative or friend taking care of an animal when the owner is away
  • A paid animal sitter
  • An animal hospital
  • A kennel owner

All these people are required to take reasonable measures to prevent the animals under their care from harming others.

Parent to a Dog Owner

Minors are allowed to own pets, but it is difficult to recover damages from a child when his or her dog bites you. Therefore, in many states, animal bite victims are allowed to submit personal injury claims to parents when their children's dogs bite other people. This may be the case even if the parent has no direct control of the dog.


In the usual case, only the tenant is held liable when a vicious animal attacks another person. However, the landlord may shoulder some of the responsibility if:

  • The attack occurs in a common area such as the parking lot
  • The landlord knew that the tenant was keeping a vicious dog breed
  • The bite occurs due to the landlord's breach of care (for example, failure to maintain a fence)

Premise/Business Owner

Lastly, it is also possible to hold a property owner liable for a dog bite. For example, if a supermarket allows dogs onto its premises, then it may be held responsible if one of the dogs bite a customer. The idea is that the store owners should have put reasonable measures in place to protect the public when allowing the dogs entry to the property.

As a layperson, it may not be easy for you to identify the responsible party. Therefore, you should consult with your lawyer before making a move. Present your lawyer with all the facts of the situation so that he or she can advise you on the best way forward. To learn more, contact a company like Gazewood & Weiner PC with any questions or concerns you have.