In most dog bite injury cases, the owner is liable for damage or injury caused by the dog. However, another individual may be responsible for dog bite damages if any of the following are true:
- Someone other than the owner had control over or was taking care of the dog
- The dog’s owner is under the age of 18
- The landlord of a dog-owning tenant knew the animal was dangerous and did nothing to prevent harm caused by the dog
- The dog was on another’s property and that individual negligently failed to remove the animal
Under dog bite personal injury law, individuals who “harbor” or “keep” a dog can be just as liable as the animal’s owner, should the dog cause damage or injury. A “keeper” is an individual who cares for or has custody or control over the dog. Factors that would qualify an individual as a “keeper” vary by state. Depending on the state’s particular statutes, a keeper may be considered an individual who does any of the following:
- Gives shelter, lodge or refuge to a dog
- Manages, controls or cares for a dog, with or without the owner’s permission
- Has custody of the dog for a short period of time
Some state dog bite laws limit liability to the dog’s owner. For instance, in Wisconsin, “keepers” are not liable under state law; only the owner can be liable when a dog bites an individual. However, dog bite laws are often hard to interpret without the help of a skilled dog bite attorney. In some cases, a court may interpret an “owner” as someone who controls or harbors the dog.
Our dog bite attorneys are currently accepting claims from individuals who were injured or bitten by a dog. For a free case evaluation with one of our dog bite lawyers, simply fill out this quick and confidential form. Our dog bite lawyers will review your claim, at no cost to you, to determine whether you are eligible for compensation.