A Situation Where Homeowner Not Liable For Dog Bite

Normally, homeowners are held responsible for the injury to any guest on their property. In some states, that responsibility includes dog bits to trespassers.

Definition of trespasser

Someone that enters a property without stated or implied permission. According to the law, trespassers deserve a low standard of care from the owner of the trespassed property. Still, the homeowner’s actions should be reasonable. In order to judge the reasonableness of a given action, the legal system in some states asks this: What would another homeowner do under the same circumstances?

In other states, the legal system poses a different question. It asks this: Was the trespasser exposed to danger in the absence of a warning? That puts a larger burden on the homeowner, in terms of the homeowner’s responsibility.

When the principle of strict liability might apply to a case about a dog biting a trespasser

That would be a time when a homeowner would become responsible for a dog’s behavior, even without evidence of the same homeowner’s negligence, as per Injury Lawyer in Kitchener. Strict liability would apply, if the homeowner’s dog were known to be dangerous, due to its history, or due to the tendencies of dogs of that particular breed.

Consequently, homeowners’ liability could extend to any injury, even one to a trespasser, if the biting canine had been deemed dangerous. In this particular instance, that liability could be introduced into the trespasser’s case, even when the dog owner/homeowner had used reasonable care to control the dangerous pet. Those times when the legal system can apply the strict liability principle represent an exception to the general rules, regarding dog bites and trespassers.

An exception to the exception

Trespassers’ knowledge of the exception stated above should not encourage them to enter any property. Any one of them might be unlucky enough to step onto a yard that qualifies as an exception to the exception.

A certain breed of canine, namely one that is known to be dangerous, might guard the yard that the trespasser has chosen to enter. In that case, the duty of care towards the uninvited guest (trespasser) would need to involve creation of super-strong precautionary measures. Such measures do not exist in most yards. Consequently, their presence would serve as a type of warning to the guest/trespasser. In other words, the dangerous nature of the controlled canine would have been apparent.

Suppose, though, that the trespasser’s actions managed to weaken the extra strong precautionary measures. Suppose, further that an out-of-control pet canine bit the careless intruder. In such a situation, the homeowner could not be held liable for the intruder’s injury. Proper precautionary measures had been introduced, before the intruder’s arrival. Moreover, their presence had let the intruder know of the danger.