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Posted in Our Blog on September 27, 2019
Dogs may be a favored pet in New Orleans, but these animals can attack and seriously injure other humans. While the dog’s owner is primarily responsible for the actions of his or her pet, the property owner where the attack occurs may share a portion of the liability. However, what happens if an unattended dog bites another person on property you own? Do you have to pay for the injured person’s damages?
If you own a property in Louisiana, you have a duty of care to prevent injuries to people who visit you. Anyone from friends to neighbors to coworkers who visit your home, or utility workers who provide services, receive protections under premises liability laws. If someone brings a dangerous dog onto your property, you may be liable for any injuries that this dog may cause.
You have a responsibility to take reasonable steps to prevent the animal from injuring anyone. These steps can include placing a muzzle on the animal, keeping it in a safe, secure location, and warning visitors that the dog could be dangerous.
If the dog does injure someone on your property and you did not take reasonable steps to prevent this injury, the victim could hold you liable for his or her medical expenses. This liability applies for first-time bites from the dog or attacks that are not as serious.
However, you may not always know that a dog is dangerous, especially if it doesn’t belong to you. If you knew or should have known that the dog was dangerous, you may also be liable for the lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages that the victim suffers from the bite. If you did not know the dog was dangerous, you will likely only have to pay for the medical expenses.
You may wonder if the owner could share a portion of the liability, since the dog does not belong to you. There are several situations in which you could shift the liability onto the owner or share a portion of fault, depending on the circumstances of the attack.
If a dog bit someone on your property and the animal did not belong to you, you may be able to protect yourself against liability accusations. However, you will need an attorney on your side to assist with your claim. Your dog bite attorney can review security footage, interview witnesses and experts, and enter into negotiations on your behalf. Contact a Louisiana dog bite lawyer as soon as possible to begin the investigation and to build a compelling claim disproving your share of liability.