Landlord Liability in Dog Bite Injury Cases

Landlord Liability in Dog Bite Injury Cases

Tenants who own dogs are responsible for any injuries caused by their pets, but sometimes landlords can also be found liable in cases when they fail to perform their duty of care. This can be critical if the tenant fails to have any or adequate coverage for the severe injuries a canine attack can inflict.

If a dog injures a tenant or guest, a landlord may face shared liability with the dog’s owner when they had knowledge that the dog was dangerous, they had the ability to remove the animal, and in some cases, when they failed to secure the property and prevent the attack.

At Dempsey, Roberts & Smith, we have successfully obtained settlements in dog bite accidents involving severe injuries and death. Contact us at (702) 388-1216 for a free consultation to discuss the situation and your options.

The landlord may share liability with the dog’s owner when…

1. The Landlord Had Actual Knowledge the Dog Was Dangerous

In the event that a tenant’s dog bites a person, the landlord will not be liable unless the victim can prove that the landlord knew about the dog’s dangerous nature. Property owners in Nevada are not required to inspect their premises to determine if their tenants house dangerous animals. It is only when the landlord was aware that the property was home to a dangerous animal that a duty of care could be imposed.

2. The Landlord Had the Ability to Remove the Dog

In addition to having knowledge of the dangerous animal, the landlord must also have the right to remove it from the premises. It is possible for a landlord to be unable to legally remove a dog in some cases. A tenant may, for example, be entitled to keep the dog as an Emotional Support Animal. During this time, the landlord cannot be held responsible for any injuries caused by the dog.

3. The Landlord Failed to Secure the Premises

In the event that the tenant’s dog bites someone while on a leash, the tenant is liable for the injuries because the tenant was “in control” of the dog. The Nevada Supreme Court has held that simply being a landlord does not impute liability for a tenant’s dog. However, the property owner may be liable in some circumstances, if there is an assumption of a duty or possibly negligence in property maintenance such as leaving a broken fence unrepaired.

When Can a Landlord be Found Not Liable for a Dog Bite Injury?

As the landlord’s liability rests more on general negligence principles than strict liability, courts are reluctant to extend liability to him or her when it is shown that he or she had no knowledge of the animal’s vicious nature. 

For example, a tenant buys a 100-pound German Shepherd without informing the landlord and it attacks another tenant or guest of the property. The landlord may argue that because they were not aware the tenant was in possession of a dog, and had received no prior complaints about the dog, they had no knowledge of the animal’s vicious nature. 

A landlord may also be protected from liability if the tenant’s dog bites someone while the landlord is evicting the tenant from the premises or actively trying to remove the animal.

Contact Our Henderson Attorneys to Pursue a Dog Bite Injury

We will assess the liability and give you a free consultation on the possible damages to compensate for the physical injury and mental anguish you or a loved one may have suffered. Contact Dempsey, Roberts & Smith at (702) 388-1216 for more information.