Visitor Question

Tenant’s Daughter Gets Split Lip from Headbutt with My Dog…

Submitted By: Charise (Riverview, FL)

A tenant’s teenage girl came over to my house to return a spray bottle. While doing so, when I opened the door my dog, Snoopy, slipped though and ran past us. The girl grabbed Snoopy from behind and then the dog whipped back and they accidentally butted heads. She went home immediately afterwards.

I went to her house to make sure she was okay and see her wounds. She had a split lip that required 4 stitches. The girl assured me she was fine and her father said it’d be ok, but her Mother was another story.

I know that I’m somewhat responsible for what happened since it was my dog, but shouldn’t the girl hold some responsibility as well, since she grabbed the dog? Also, I live on the premises and collect rents, but don’t own the property. Can they try and sue the property owner or just me?

Thanks for any information you can give about a situation like this.

Disclaimer: Our response is not formal legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Do not rely upon the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site, when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Always get a personalized case review from a local attorney.


Dear Charise,

Unfortunately, you are more than somewhat responsible. It appears the teenager was trying to help you by holding onto the dog as it ran past you both.

From the facts you present, you and the landlord are personally liable for the young girl’s “damages.” These include her medical bills, out of pocket expenses for medications, her lost wages (if she was working), and for her pain and suffering, also called emotional distress or mental anguish.

If the landlord formed a corporation to own or manage the premises, he or she may escape personally liability. In that case, the corporation will be liable and not the landlord.

Be sure to contact your homeowners insurance company immediately. Your homeowners insurance should cover the young girl’s damages. The landlord’s property insurance will cover his liability as well. If you don’t have homeowners insurance or the landlord doesn’t have property insurance, you both may be personally liable.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from a licensed attorney. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here , or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Published: May 2, 2013

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