We are frequently contacted by dog bite victims who were attacked while occupying an apartment complex, apartment building, or condominium complex. These animal attack claimants come in a wide variety including mailmen and package delivery personnel, gas, water and electric company meter readers, social guests, and other individuals lawfully present on the property. The delimma often presented in these cases is that the owner of a dog has no insurance coverage or limited coverage such that a claim against the third party owner of the property is the more viable means of full recovery. While the basis for proving dog bite liability is prone to be more complicated, the opportunity for significant recovery is often greater.
Proving Dog Bite Liability Against The Owner Of An Apartment Complex
Since a landlord or condominium association is not the owner of the dog, liability must be established based on common law negligence. What this requires is evidence manifesting that the property owner acted unreasonably under the circumstances. The elements which must be established to trigger liability against a landlord or condominium association include: (1) presence of the dog or animal on the landlord or condomium association’s property; (2) actual or constructive knowledge on the part of the landlord or condominium association of the dangerous propensity of the dog (e.g. knowledge of prior attack or aggressive behavior); and (3) the landlord or condominium association failed to adequately protect the victim from the resulting dog attack. These elements frequently have to be established through diligent, thoughtful, and exhaustive investigation. For example, it may be necessary to subpoena and review condominium association minutes to determine whether there was any complaints or discussions concerning problems with the dog prior to the claimant being bitten. Police reports can also be helpful in documenting prior attacks by the dog and notice on the part of the landlord.
Landlord Dog Bite Claim Lawyers
If you or a loved one requires guidance or assistance with respect to a dog bite claim against a landlord or condominium complex, our NJ dog bite lawyers are ready discuss your case. An experienced dog bite lawyer will be happy to address your concerns and formulate a plan for which insures that your interests are protected.