What Is a Business’ Liability If a Dog Attacks?
A dog attack inside a store or business can be incredibly traumatic and confusing. And figuring out who’s liable will help determine who pays for all the damages, including hospitalization, lost wages, and more.
After an attack of this kind, you have a lot to deal with. In the moment, your focus should be on getting safe and then getting better.
You may not know exactly who’s responsible for what happened to you. However, the insurance companies will look at liability – and their decision can have a major impact on your future.
Here’s what you need to know about liability for dog attacks inside retail stores and other businesses.
A Store’s Responsibility to Protect People from Dangerous Dogs
Stores and other places of business have a responsibility to their customers. They are expected, by law, to keep their property safe and secure for the people shopping there.
This includes keeping the area free of dangerous dogs and other animals. You’ll notice a lot of stores post a rule that only service animals are allowed inside. This is because official service animals have been specially-trained and generally are very safe for the public.
When other animals come in, and especially large breeds, it can create a serious liability for the business. As a result, if you suffer from a dog attack inside a store, the store may actually be responsible.
On other people’s property, it would usually be the dog owner. And there may be some mix of liability inside the store, too. But ultimately, the store should not let any dangerous animal inside its doors. Doing so puts them, and their insurance policy, at risk.
The Limitations of What a Business Can Do
There are some situations a business can’t avoid. For example, let’s say someone sneaks a dog inside or fakes their service dog certification.
A store can only do so much. They can put up video surveillance, post signs about their dog policy, and stop dog owners from bringing in their animals whenever possible.
But it’s unreasonable to expect a store employee or even manager to police their customers for every conceivable wrongdoing. If customers break explicit rules and bring in a dangerous dog against store policy, it can make the owner entirely liable.
Dog-Friendly Stores and Liability in Dog Attacks
Dog-friendly stores can limit their liability in the same way as other businesses, including with signs and warnings. However, they may have additional liability because of their policies.
If you run a dog-friendly establishment, you have a responsibility to make sure it doesn’t put everyone at risk. To limit liability, you may want to consider breed or weight limitations or a behavioral check-in at the door. Hotels often have policies like this to protect their property.
Customers also have a responsibility at stores like this to stay alert and understand the risks. And if they want to bring a dog, they need to make sure it’s well-behaved and socialized. But that doesn’t mean it’s automatically the customer’s fault if something goes wrong.
If you’re injured by a dog attack inside a store, the best way to determine liability is to speak with an attorney.
Injured by a Dog Attack Inside a Store? Our Attorneys Can Help
A good personal injury attorney will help you determine liability after a dog attack.
Our award-winning dog attack lawyers have helped our clients recover after terrible, devastating injuries. We investigate your claim, help sort out liability questions, and then work to get you the compensation you need and deserve.
Unlike some of the biggest firms that might treat your case like an assembly line, we give our clients our full attention. It’s how we’ve won multiple awards for client satisfaction, a 5-star rating on Avvo, and decades of A+ ratings from the Better Business Bureau.