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

Asked over 1 year ago - 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. Frank Wei-Hong Chen

    Contributor Level 20

    13

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . 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... more
  2. Neil James Fraser

    Contributor Level 15

    10

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . 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.

  3. Loc Hoang Pham

    Contributor Level 8

    9

    Lawyers agree

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

  4. Sean Michael Patrick

    Contributor Level 16

    9

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . 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... more
  5. Constantine D. Buzunis

    Contributor Level 17

    7

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . 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.... more
  6. Michael Ryan Juarez

    Contributor Level 16

    7

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . 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 www.jslaw.... more
  7. Chris Matthew Limberopoulos

    Contributor Level 16

    8

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . 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.

  8. Timothy Leo Bowden

    Contributor Level 14

    7

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . 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

  9. Christian K. Lassen II

    Pro

    Contributor Level 20

    6

    Lawyers agree

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

    Only 29% Contingency Fee! Phone: 215-510-6755 www.InjuryLawyerPhiladelphia.com

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