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When Dogs Attack

We all know that dogs will sometimes bite humans. However, it is not always clear who is liable for the injuries such a bite can cause. Two recent lawsuits help answer this question.

The first case involved a dog attack by an Akita (a breed of guard dog) on a two-year-old child. The child and her parents were visiting their next-door neighbors when the neighbors' dog bit the child in the face. Unfortunately, the dog's owners were renting the house and did not have insurance, so the child's parents sued the landlord. The suit was based on the claim that the landlord allegedly knew that his tenants were keeping a dog and knew that the dog was dangerous.

The court ruled that the landlord was not liable for the damages caused by the dog's attack. Even if the landlord did know that the dog was dangerous he did not have an obligation to protect people from the dog once he rented the house to the dog's owners. In most cases, once a landlord has rented property to a tenant, he no longer retains any control over what goes on at the property.

The second case involved a pit bull who broke loose from his leash and attacked a passing pedestrian. The bites were so bad that the pedestrian required surgery to close a gash on his leg and was incapacitated for two months. He sued the owner of the pit bull and settled the claim for $85,000. Although the settlement occurred before the case went to trial, the dog's owner would likely have been found to have been liable for not controlling his dog, especially because

This website is not intended to constitute legal advice or the provision of legal services. By posting and/or maintaining the website and its contents, Lucas Law does not intend to solicit business from clients located in states or jurisdictions outside of Illinois wherein Lucas Law or its individual attorney(s) are not licensed or authorized to practice law.

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