Riverdale, GA asked in Personal Injury and Landlord - Tenant for Georgia

Q: Can I sue my apartment complex if my neighbor who is also the maintenance man dog jumped his patio fence and bit me

The apartment complex is pet friendly the patio gate is about 3 and a half feet to 4 foot high

2 Lawyer Answers
Nelson Craig Johnson
Nelson Craig Johnson
Answered
  • Cullman, AL
  • Licensed in Georgia

A: So you would certainly have a claim against the neighbor for the dog bite, which if he is carrying renters insurance with a liability policy might be covered. To go after the apartment complex for negligence you would have to show some wrongdoing on their part. This could be something like, the dog was a dangerous breed prohibited by their policies and they were aware it was on premises and did nothing about it, or that there had been prior reports to the complex regarding the dog being aggressive and they failed to have the dog removed.

I do not believe the mere fact that he was also an employee of the complex is sufficient to make them liable without showing they had knowledge of the dog's dangerous propensity and failed to cure the situation.

For a more in depth answer that is specific to your claim you will need to provide an attorney with all of the specifics of the case.

Michael W. Horst
Michael W. Horst
Answered
  • Alpharetta, GA
  • Licensed in Georgia

A: The short answer is yes. It does not matter that the apartment complex is pet friendly or that it was the maintenance man's dog who bit you. What matters is that you are able to show the owner of the dog knew (or should have known) about the dog’s dangerous propensities. This is done through the dog's past behavior. Some people refer to this rule as the "one bite rule," but it is not necessary that the dog previously bit someone, only that the dog had previously shown a "vicious propensity" prior to biting you.

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