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
Answered
  • 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.

Ali Shahrestani, Esq.
Ali Shahrestani, Esq.
PREMIUM
Answered
  • San Francisco, CA
  • Licensed in District of Columbia

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.

Justia Ask a Lawyer is a forum for consumers to get answers to basic legal questions. Any information sent through Justia Ask a Lawyer is not secure and is done so on a non-confidential basis only.

The use of this website to ask questions or receive answers does not create an attorney–client relationship between you and Justia, or between you and any attorney who receives your information or responds to your questions, nor is it intended to create such a relationship. Additionally, no responses on this forum constitute legal advice, which must be tailored to the specific circumstances of each case. You should not act upon information provided in Justia Ask a Lawyer without seeking professional counsel from an attorney admitted or authorized to practice in your jurisdiction. Justia assumes no responsibility to any person who relies on information contained on or received through this site and disclaims all liability in respect to such information.

Justia cannot guarantee that the information on this website (including any legal information provided by an attorney through this service) is accurate, complete, or up-to-date. While we intend to make every attempt to keep the information on this site current, the owners of and contributors to this site make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to from this site.