Dangerous animals that reside in apartment complexes are a more common occurrence than you might think.
What is considered a dangerous animal?
There are many animals that are obviously dangerous, and that you would not invite into your home or keep as a pet. But what happens when a normally domesticated animal inflicts harm on someone? Many apartment complexes have policies where certain sizes, breeds, or species of animals are prohibited. For example, even though it might seem a bit biased, most complexes in Texas don't allow breeds such as Pit Bulls, Boxers, and German Shepherds, and some don't allow dogs over 30 or 35 pounds. Other apartment complexes might prohibit exotic animals like snakes and lizards. These policies are a standard they use because of past experiences with dangerous animals. Even if an animal complies with all of the apartment's policies, it is still important that the animal is not putting any other residents in danger, and that the owner of the animal is being a responsible pet owner. If the animal is not being properly managed or leashed, the pet's owner might be at fault if an accident occurs. But in some instances, the apartment complex may be held liable.
How could an apartment complex be held responsible for an individual's animal?
Though this concept might seem strange at first, it makes sense in a lot of ways. If someone's dogs barked incessantly and kept all of the neighbors awake every night, you would expect the apartment complex to make the tenant get rid of the dogs or terminate their lease out of respect for the other tenants. The same concept applies to owners of dangerous pets. Pets should always be kept in designated areas and on a leash. Most people know not to approach a strange animal, but kids are an exception to this rule. If the animal is known to bite, it should be kept in a muzzle while in public. If an animal continuously escapes from its owner or residence, it is much more likely for injuries to occur. In situations where an apartment complex has been made aware of an animal that is known to bite or frighten residents, steps need to be made to ensure the safety of the other residents. This might include a higher level of responsibility for the pet owner, or it might lead to the need to enforce the removal of the animal and/or resident. If the apartment complex makes no steps to resolve the issue and an accident occurs, it is clear that they have been negligent and should be held accountable. As a tenant of the property, you have certain rights, and the owners have certain duties. Your relationship to the property owners is one of an invitee, meaning that you are living on the property for mutual benefit of yourself and the property owners. The apartment complex should be held to a high standard in order to assure your safety.
The presence of wild animals on the property
Occasionally, a wild animal will probably make its way into an apartment complex. The owners of the property can't keep out every opossum or neighborhood cat. However, if the apartment complex knows about a particular problem, and they do nothing to solve the problem, they are still liable. If there is a overpopulation of feral cats, for instance, and the property owners to nothing to control the population, they should be held responsible if someone gets bitten or scratched.
How do I know if my apartment complex should be held liable for the animal injury I have sustained?
It may be hard to find out whether or not your apartment complex is liable, because they will not want to admit if they knew about an animal problem that was never resolved. Sometimes hiring a lawyer to investigate the situation is the only way to find out the truth. The attorneys at Grossman Law are experts in handling cases of premises liability. If you have any questions about a dangerous animal injury,call Grossman Law at (855)326-0000. We are here to answer any of those questions and give you the advice you need to decide if you should file a claim.