Washington, DC asked in Personal Injury and Animal / Dog Law for District of Columbia

Q: If my dog gets out and bites someone but it was the fault of my contractor who didn't create a sturdy fence, am I still

going to be liable for the injured person's medical bills?

2 Lawyer Answers
Mark Oakley
Mark Oakley
  • Rockville, MD
  • Licensed in District of Columbia

A: Yes. It’s your dog and your defective fence. Turn the claim over to your homeowners insurance company to pay. If you are still within the warranty period or statute of limitations to sue the fence contractor for defective work, you can sue to have the fence repaired or restored to proper specifications. It will be up to your homeowners insurer to decide whether to file a subrogation suit against the fence contractor for the damages paid out to the dog bite victim, but I doubt the contractor would be liable as such an event may not be a reasonably foreseeable consequence of their breach of contract on the fence installation. Maybe if it was clearly stated in your contract that this fence was to contain your dog, you might have an argument.

1 user found this answer helpful

A: You may be liable for any negligent failure to maintain the fence, or if the dog was "at large" you may be held strictly liable for the dog bite. You may be able to counter-sue the contractor for indemnity, claiming negligence by the contractor. More details are necessary to provide a professional analysis of your issue. The best first step is an Initial Consultation with an Attorney such as myself. You can read more about me, my credentials, awards, honors, testimonials, and media appearances/ publications on my law practice website, www.AliEsq.com. I practice law in CA, NY, MA, WA, and DC in the following areas of law: Business & Contracts, Criminal Defense, Divorce & Child Custody, and Education Law. This answer does not constitute legal advice; make any predictions, guarantees, or warranties; or create any Attorney-Client relationship.

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