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Dogbite at apartment complex. Small settlement with complex. Can I still go after the owner of the dog.?

Los Angeles, CA |

There was some negligence on the part of the apartment complex. I made a claim with their insurance company, and although they still said that the owner of the dog is the one who is liable, they gave me a small settlement. Now, my question is can I still go after the owner of the dog in court or small claims court? I know I may or may not be able to collect on any judgment against him. But I would still like to try.

Attorney Answers 9

  1. As long as still within the statute of limitations, yes. However you cannot make a double recovery and any settlement already paid by the apartment complex owner will be an offset claimable by the dog owner based on a comparative negligence determination.

  2. Yes, if you did not file a lawsuit against the owner of the apartment complex and if you did not sign a release with the owner of the dog, and if the incident occurred less than 2 years ago, you can bring a small claims court lawsuit against the owner of the dog for your personal injuries.

    Frank W. Chen has been licensed to practice law in California since 1988. The information presented here is general in nature and is not intended, nor should be construed, as legal advice for a particular case. This posting does not create any attorney-client relationship with the author. For specific advice about your particular situation, please consult with your own attorney.

  3. Agree with my colleagues. You consult with an attorney to ensure that all your legal rights are protected. Good luck!

  4. Assuming the owner is not insured, you can pursue this in small claims without a lawyer.
    If the owner is insured, then you should do what you should have done already.
    Get a lawyer.

  5. In California, dog owners are strictly liable for dog bites. As long as you didn't sign a release with the apartment complex for all claims against everyone arising from the incident, you should still have a viable claim. I would consult with a personal injury attorney to review any documents that you have and determine how to proceed. Best of luck.

    I am licensed in California, therefore, my answers are based on general prinicpals of law or California law, which may not be applicable in your jurisdiction. Answers posted to Avvo are for general information only. Do not conclusively rely on any information posted online when deciding what to do about your case. Every case depends is fact dependent, and responses are limited to and is based on the information you posted. No attorney-client relationship shall be created through the use reading of this response on Avvo. You should never delay seeking legal advice, disregard legal advice, or commence or discontinue any legal action because of information in this response.

  6. i agree with all other counsel, as long as you didn't release the dog owner when you signed the release the apartment owners had you sign and the statute of limitations has not run, you should be fine. If you did release the owner unintentionally, your only chance is to go back to the apartment owner and try and get them to void the old release and make a new one, that allows you to maintain a claim against the owner.

    Legal disclaimer:This message does not constitute legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. Any statements are made for general informational purposes and do not constitute legal advice. No attorney-client privilege is created by this communication. Attorney is licensed in California only.

  7. i would think so. but to be sure, i would contact an injury attorney in your area and let him review the release you signed with the apt complex

  8. I agree with the advice you have received. Review the release the insurance company probably had you sign; depending on the amount of damage file a small claims suit immeidately; consider the policy against double recovery.

    -Michael R. Juarez Law Office of Juarez and Schaeffer PO Box 16216 San Diego, CA 92105 (619) 804-4327 This posting is provided for “information purposes” only and should not be relied upon as "legal advice." Nothing transmitted from this posting constitutes the establishment of an attorney-client relationship. Applicability of the legal principles discussed here may differ substantially in individual situations or in different jurisdictions.

  9. If you didn't sign a release with respect to them.

    Only 29% Contingency Fee! Phone: 215-510-6755

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