Did you know 70% of apartment renters own pets? The Los Angeles Times found that 7 out of 10 California’s apartment dwellers keep pets in their apartments, primarily cats and dogs.
This makes apartment complexes hotspots for dog bites. As people take their pups out for walks and bathroom breaks, interactions with other people sometimes turn dangerous.
Every year, dogs bite more than 20,000 people in Los Angeles County alone. Plus there are thousands more in San Francisco and across California. Scary to think about!
At Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers, we see the tragic results of these dog bites when victims contact us about making claims against dog owners and apartment landlords. It’s easy to understand that these injured people want justice and compensation.
5 Things You Can Do to Avoid Dog Bites Near Apartments
If you live in an apartment complex, you’ve probably seen lots of dogs around. Here’s how to avoid becoming the next victim of a traumatic dog attack.
1- Avoid Escalating Risky Situations
The American Veterinary Medical Association warns people not to approach any dog that is displaying aggressive or uncertain behavior. Watch a dog’s ears, tail, and stance for signs that it’s uncomfortable or has its attention focused on you.
For example, a dog will often stand stiffly, growl, or whine in the moments before an attack. Also, watch out for dogs traveling in groups, leashed or unleashed, because packs are more likely to go into a frenzy.
2- Stay Away from Loose and Unleashed Dogs
If you love dogs, you might be tempted to help a lost dog by approaching and interacting with it. Nobody wants to see a dog get hurt in traffic!
But this is an extremely risky thing to do. You don’t know why the dog is loose or what its temperament is. Perhaps something traumatic just happened and it’s primed to fight. Instead of approaching it, contact Animal Control for help.
3- Move Slowly and Stay Silent
If an unfamiliar dog is near you and unattended, stay motionless and silent until it leaves the area. Don’t rile it up by speaking to it, making fast movements, or running away. Running triggers some dogs to attack.
4- Look, But Don’t Touch
Adopt a “look, but don’t touch” policy when it comes to interacting with other people’s dogs. It’s okay to observe a cute dog, but don’t pet it or approach it. Teach your children the same safe behavior around dogs.
5- Report Aggressive and Suspicious Dogs
If you see a loose dog in your apartment complex area, report it to both Animal Control and your apartment manager/landlord. Stay safely away from the dog and take photos and videos of it if possible.
Can a Landlord Be Held Responsible for a Dog Bite?
Broadly speaking, a landlord can be held liable for a dog attack only if they knew the dog was dangerous and failed to remove the danger. In California, landlords have a duty to provide a safe area for their tenants to enjoy.
It’s somewhat rare for landlords to be held liable for injuries inflicted by tenants’ dogs, but it’s still possible. Your case will be stronger if you can prove you notified the landlord about the threat and they didn’t do anything about it.
As you can guess, this is why it’s so helpful to have photos and videos of a loose dog in your apartment complex. If a dog ends up hurting you, those images plus your email, text, or letter to the landlord could provide powerful evidence that you deserve compensation.
You can also take action against the dog’s owner directly. California’s legal system tends to take dog bite cases very seriously due to the threat to public health and safety.
Understanding Liability in California Dog Bite Cases
California is a strict liability state for dog bite injuries. This usually places the responsibility on the dog’s owner, even if they weren’t present at the scene of the attack.
But your behavior matters too. If you did something to provoke the animal – even just being friendly – you’ll have a difficult time securing compensation. In California, provocation is a viable defense to dog bite liability.
So if you have a habit of strolling through the apartment complex petting every dog along the way, you might end up with 100% of the blame for a bite. The dog’s owner or your landlord could say you provoked the animal into lashing out, so they owe you nothing.
At Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers, we strongly advise you to make your safety the priority and avoid dog bites in your apartment complex. But if the worst happens and a dog bites you, contact us for a free online dog bite case evaluation to gain insight into what to do next.
We Handle Your Personal Injury Claim so You Can Focus on Your Life
After an injury, contact the attorneys at Sally Morin Personal Injury Lawyers. We handle many areas of the law, including dog bite injuries. We believe you should be able to focus on recovering while we handle the legal details.
We truly care about the people of California. Contact us today for a free online case evaluation.