INDIANA HOMEOWNER IS NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR TENANT’S DOG BITE
May 20, 2015
You riding your motorcycle down the block, a dog takes off from a piece of property right towards you, jumps and bites your arm and face, throwing you off the bike. You're injured and develop an infection that causes you to be hospitalized. You did nothing wrong and now you're saddled with thousands of dollars in medical expenses and you missed work for a couple of months. You want to know if you can be reimbursed for your loses and compensated for your medical expenses.
You send a letter to the tenant who owned the dog, and they respond that they do not have any insurance. You send a letter to the owner of the home because they are frequently on the property, and there insurance company denies your claim.
You file a lawsuit against the homeowner alleging that he is responsible for your injuries because he was on the property all the time and knew the dog would run off, and because he violated a local ordinance that requires dogs to be restrained by a leash.
The homeowner files a motion asking the court to dismiss the case because the homeowner did not owe you a duty of care because he did not own the dog. The trial court agrees with the homeowner and dismisses your case.
You and your attorney decide to appeal the case, and the Indiana Court of Appeals agrees with the homeowner. So, what is the law in Indiana regarding landlord responsibility for a tenant's dog bite? A landowner has no duty to confine the dog that it does not own or have control over, this is the dog owner's or dog keeper's responsibility. Click here if you would like to read the opinion of the court.
If you have any questions about an Indiana dog bite claim call (219) 874-4878.
Photo Attribution: Image courtesy of Poulsen Photo at FreeDigitalPhotos.net