Why A Store Owner May Be Liable For A Dog Bite On Their Premises

Posted on: 8 August 2019

If a dog bites you in a store, it is not just the dog owner who may be liable for your injuries; even the store owner may share in the blame. Below are some of the circumstances that make a store owner liable for dog bites on their property.

Store Owner Knew of Animal's Danger

Many jurisdictions are reluctant to hold stores responsible for all animal attacks that occur on their premises. This is because store owners cannot be expected to take note of all animals that come into their stores. However, a store owner who knows that a dangerous animal is on their property will be held liable for the damages the animal might cause. For example, if a fierce dog comes into a store, but the store owner doesn't intervene because they don't want to lose the dog owner's business, then the store owner may be liable for injuries the dog might cause.

Store Owner Didn't Take Any Action

The court will consider whether the store owner did what any reasonable person, in the same situation, would have done to prevent the attack. A store owner who does everything in their power to prevent animal attacks will not be liable if they are unable to prevent animal attacks. Did the store owner warn the animal owner? Did the store owner call for security? Does the store has policies for or against certain pets? These are some of the questions the court will be seeking answers to during the deliberations.

You Weren't in a Restricted Area

You might not get any compensation if you were attacked in a restricted area of the store. This is because the store owner may not monitor the restricted areas as well as the public areas. The store owner has no duty to prevent such attacks in restricted areas. Say you were attacked by a stray dog while you were in the storage room of a store, a storage room where shoppers are not allowed. In that case, the court is unlikely to award you damages.

The Store Owner Expects Animals

Lastly, a store who expects many animals on their premises owes a higher duty of care to its visitors than a store that doesn't expect animals. Examples of businesses that expect or should expect animals on their premises include pet food stores, animal spas, and dog pageant organizers, among others. Such businesses know that animals will be coming to their stores, and they should have measures in place to prevent attacks. Without such measures, the businesses become liable for attacks that might occur on their properties.

For more information, contact a company like Carter & Fulton, P.S. today.