Can a Landlord Be Held Liable for a Dog Bite in Texas?
Posted on October 2, 2021
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Texas is one of the top states in the country in terms of the number of dog bite injuries and deaths each year. When a dog attacks and injures someone in Texas, it is possible for a landlord to be held liable, or legally and financially responsible, in certain circumstances. This can lead to greater financial compensation for the injured victim, as the landlord will have to pay for the victim’s medical bills and other related losses.
What Is Texas’ Dog Bite Law?
Texas uses a one-bite rule when it comes to liability for dog bite injuries. This rule relies on the legal theory of negligence. It states that a pet owner will only be held responsible for a dog bite injury if the dog had previously bitten someone or shown other signs of aggression, and if the owner failed to prevent a second or subsequent bite. If Texas used a strict liability dog bite law, on the other hand, a pet owner would always be liable for a dog bite injury, without regard to whether the owner knew of the dog’s propensity for viciousness.
Under Texas’ dog bite law, there must be proof that the owner or controller of the dog knew or reasonably should have known that the dog had acted aggressively or bitten someone previously and that the individual failed to take reasonable steps to prevent the subsequent attack. The same legal theory applies if the injured victim wishes to pursue a claim against a third party, such as a landlord. It is the victim’s responsibility to prove the defendant was negligent and that this caused or contributed to the dog attack.
Landlord Liability for a Dog Bite
Landlords have a certain responsibility to keep the properties that they own and manage reasonably safe for renters and visitors. If a dog attack in Texas takes place while on rented or leased property, the landlord may be held accountable. While a landlord might not be responsible for incidents that take place inside apartments, they are responsible for all common areas on the premises, such as hallways and lobbies.
It is possible to make a claim against a landlord for a dog bite injury that takes place in a common area if there is evidence that the landlord knew or reasonably should have known that a violent or dangerous dog was staying on the property. If the landlord knew about the aggressive dog but did nothing to remove the threat of harm, such as evicting the tenant for breaking the building’s pet rules, the landlord or owner of the building could be held responsible for an attack.
In addition, a landlord may be held responsible for a dog bite injury that occurs as a result of the landlord’s failure to maintain a safe premises. If the landlord should have repaired a hole in a fence before a dog escaped and attacked someone, for example, the landlord could bear responsibility for failing to prevent a foreseeable injury. If the landlord did his or her part to prevent a dog attack, however, and it was the pet owner that didn’t follow the rules, the owner might be liable instead.
When to Contact a Dallas Dog Bite Injury Attorney
Holding a landlord or property owner responsible for a dog bite injury in Texas could result in greater financial compensation for your medical bills and other related losses. If the pet owner does not have enough insurance to cover your costs, for example, the landlord or property management company might have greater coverage available. It is up to you as the injured victim, however, to prove that the landlord was negligent. A premises liability attorney in Dallas can help you with this burden of proof.
An attorney can thoroughly investigate your dog bite incident to search for signs of negligence by the pet owner, landlord, property owner or any other parties involved. Then, your attorney can present evidence of negligence to an insurance company and negotiate for fair financial compensation for your losses on your behalf. If you get bitten by a dog at someone’s rental home or apartment in Texas, contact an attorney to discuss the possibility of landlord liability.