Under Florida law, a dog owner can be held strictly liable for any injuries caused by their animal. This means that in a Florida dog bite case, the plaintiff will not need to establish that the animal’s owner was negligent in any way or that the owner knew of the dog’s propensity to attack in order to recover for their injuries.
A recent case discusses a slightly different situation in which a plaintiff who was bitten by a dog filed a personal injury lawsuit against the landlord who rented a home to the owner of the dogs. In this case, the court determined that to hold the landlord liable, the plaintiff needed to establish that the landlord knew that the dogs were dangerous.
The Facts of the Case
According to the court’s opinion, the landlord owned a home that she had rented to a family for several years. During this time, the landlord had the opportunity to get to know the tenants’ three pit bulls. The landlord explained that she did not know the dogs to be aggressive and had never seen them attack any person or animal.
One day, the tenants apparently gave permission to friends for them to enter the home and wait inside until they got back. The friends entered through the home’s unlocked side door. As the friends entered the house, however, the tenants’ dogs ran out the door. The dogs attacked the plaintiff, who was walking his dog nearby.
The plaintiff filed a personal injury lawsuit against the landlord, arguing that she was liable for his injuries. The landlord claimed that she did not owe the plaintiff a duty of care, and filed a motion for summary judgment.
The Court’s Opinion
The court agreed with the landlord and dismissed the plaintiff’s case. The court acknowledged that a landlord could, in theory, be liable for injuries caused by a tenant’s dogs; however, for that to be the case, the plaintiff would need to establish that the landlord knew that the dogs posed a danger to others.
The court explained that a landlord’s duty to those outside a home they rent to another is limited to situations where the landlord either consents to the tenants conducting a dangerous activity within the house, or where the landlord should be aware that the tenant’s use of the property presents an unreasonable risk to others outside the home. Here, the court held that neither of these situations was present. The court pointed to the landlord’s testimony indicating she had known the dogs for years and that at no point did they seem aggressive. Thus, the court dismissed the plaintiff’s claim against the landlord.
Have You Been Injured in a Florida Dog Attack?
If you or someone you care about has recently been bitten by a dog or attacked by some other vicious animal, you may be entitled to monetary compensation through a South Florida dog bite case. At the law firm of Friedman Rodman & Frank, we represent Florida injury victims in all types of personal injury claims, ranging from car accidents, to dog bites, to slip-and-fall accidents. To learn more about how we can help you pursue a claim for compensation, call 877-448-8585 to schedule a free consultation today.
More Blog Posts:
Court Holds That Police Department May Be Liable for Officer’s Failure to Use Due Care While Responding to an Emergency, South Florida Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, published November 6, 2018.
Court Permits Premises Liability Case to Proceed After Applying the Res Ipsa Loquitor Doctrine, South Florida Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, published November 13, 2018.