If a dog bitesa shopper in retail store, how liable is the storeif itallows pets?

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If a dog bitesa shopper in retail store, how liable is the storeif itallows pets?

A retail store allows shoppers to bring pets into their store as a matter of new policy. Another shopper spots a cute dog and proceeds to pet the dog. The dog bites the startled shopper and requires a trip to the emergency room. How do most states treat this situation with regards to the liability of the store owner in this matter. Could a shopper sue the store owner?

Asked on August 7, 2010 under Personal Injury, Georgia

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

It is probably not the fault of the store owner, unless there was something putting the owner on notice that either dogs generally were a problem in this store, or that this dog was a problem. For example, prior attacks might give the owner reason to change the policy--or to at least bar the dogs involved in those attacks--and a failure  to do so might constitute negligence. However, without some reason to be aware that there was a threat, it is unlikely that the store itself would be responsible, any more than you would be liable if a friend with a dog was on your front yard and the dog happened to bite someone. However, you may very likely have recourse against the dog's owner and might consider claiming against him or her, either in small claims court (minor injury, few costs) or by retaining a lawyer and bringing a law suit.


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