Personal injury laws determine whom you can sue and what you must prove to get compensation after an injury. For example, a dog owner is the first defendant that comes to mind after a dog bite. However, depending on the circumstances, you may also pursue dog bite damages against a property owner or occupier. In this case, you base your claim on premises liability law.
Below are some things you must prove when using premises liability for a dog bite claim.
A premises liability claim requires you to prove that a danger or injury risk existed on the property. For an animal attack, you should prove that:
- The animal could attack anyone because it was not on a leash
- No one restrained the animal
- The animal attacked you on the property
You aim to show that the danger (risk of attack) existed even before your injury, and the risk eventually caused you harm. An injury report to the building's owner or renter, security camera footage of the attack, eyewitness testimony, and photos of the animal can help you prove your injury occurred on the property.
The Owner or Occupier's Negligence
Premises liability also requires you to prove the liable party's negligence. You must prove the liable party knew or should have known about the danger but failed to take relevant mitigation measures.
You may prove negligence in a dog bite case by showing the animal belonged to the liable party. For example, a homeowner with a guard dog should know that their dog can attack others. You can also strengthen your case by proving that a landlord allowed a dangerous dog on their property, especially in the common areas.
A history of animal attacks on the premises strengthens your claim even further. Such a history is helpful whether it involves the specific animal that attacked you or not. The history of attacks proves that the liable party should have anticipated and prevented further attacks.
Lastly, you must prove that you suffered real injuries on the property. This last element is easy to prove if the dog attacked you on the premises. You just need to show medical records showing the diagnosis and treatment for an animal bite. You can use eyewitnesses and footage of the attack to bolster your claim. However, you don't have a claim if the animal merely scared you.
Contact a personal injury lawyer to learn more.