Dog bite lawsuit... no insurance

Hello, I have a small park (worth about $400K)
Tenant got bit by a neighbors dog, but he is doing okay and just took a quick trip to clinic and back the same day.
Wants to sue for $100K
I don’t have any insurance on the park.
I have not contacted a lawyer yet.
What is the best way to resolve this issue?

I’m also about to sell the park.
Can there be a lawsuit if there is new ownership?
What would happen if I owner finance the park and use a different LLC for the payment collections?

I’m not an attorney, but I’m pretty sure no matter what you do to try to dodge the situation, you can still get sued.

If I was you I would contact an attorney now. Depending on how badly the tenant is hurt, it’s quite possible that after the tenant learns how much it costs to hire an attorney they will not sue you.

Do yourself a favor and get insurance - you can lose everything you own, investments and personal.


Absolutely hire an attorney

Has the ‘victim’ hired an attorney yet? If not I would consult with an attorney, but keep the attorney out of negotiations and try and work out a reasonable settlement directly with the ‘victim’ while my attorney discretely advises me. If he has an attorney, I’d instead let my attorney do all the talking.

Talk to your attorney, and if/she agrees I would let it loudly be known that I don’t have an insurance policy to collect from.

Thanks for reply guys. Yes, I don’t know what I was thinking not having insurance on this park.

The tenant already has an attorney and is pursuing hard for the lawsuit. I’m sure he is not paying the attorney anything and the attorney is just working on contingency.

Do you think they will back off if they find out I don’t have an insurance policy to collect from??

Help me understand how your getting dragged into this if it was not your dog. I understand you own the property but why isn’t the victim going after the dog owner? Was the dog on a leash? Was the dog a dangerous breed? Do you have it documented that all dogs remain on a leash when outside? To many unknowns. I agree you need insurance but I’d be wanting to know more facts of the matter.


I’m wondering why they are coming after you. Have they tried going after the dog owner. Also, what are your rules regarding pets, did the dog owner break a rule either by not having it on a leash or restricted breed. If the owner was not following the rules I would immediately send a termination letter to them…get rid of the dog or they go! Letting them stay will create even more liability plus it will look better if you have to go to court since you are enforcing your rules.


It will cost them and their attorney a few bucks to send you a “scary” letter. They are looking for easy money. Chances are the attorney is NOT taking the case for free, and the client most likely will not be able to afford the associated legal fees to proceed.

Let them serve you with an actual summons for court before you get too excited and spend a whole bunch of money on attorneys.

Oh and a great time to remove the tenant with the offending dog.

Thats exactly what I was thinking as well. But I did just get the summons. No other option then? I must get an attorney?

Thank you for sharing this situation with all of us.
Sorry you are going through it

Which state is the park/lawsuit?

Lawyer up. Start documenting anything remotely related to the 2 tenants and your rules.

Johnny, I’m sorry to hear about your plight. Those lawsuits are unfortunately common against park owners. Litigation targets those who are perceived to have resources (you, park owners), and avoids that aren’t thought to have resources (tenants with dogs). Park owners have been sued and lost for claims arising from tenant owned, and even stray dog bites. One of our worst losses ever involved a stray dog.

Your chances of success depend on the facts of the matter (any prior notice of that dog being an issue?), your state, and your particular legal jurisdiction and judge. We’ve paid policy limits for dog bite lawsuits and we’ve beat them and paid nothing - including a TN case recently where we got out on Summary Judgment. That’s rare, but it gave me a big smile.

My advice is to seek legal counsel/defense - at least a first meeting. You’ll be asked to pay a legal retainer (up front payment of $10k or so) for the attorney to get involved representing you in a court case. Be careful contacting the plaintiff’s lawyer directly. Anything you say or write to him/her can be used against you in court. A short cut would be to hire a lawyer to send a letter advising the plaintiff’s lawyer you have no insurance and limited resources in hopes this spurs a quick settlement of $5k or $10k.

The good news - no notable bodily injury. Woohoo. That limits their ability to get a large judgment against you. These cases often settle for 3x total medical bills. If there are few of those, that’s good for you.

Don’t let the plaintiff know you are selling the park, else they will leverage that to demand more. Pending litigation usually kills or postpones property sales. You may be able to contract with the buyer that you’ll defend and indemnify him/her from litigation relating to pre-sale events, but that promise is limited by your financial ability to do so.

Good luck. Call me on my cell if you’d like to visit 281-460-8384. Kurt


I would say that would depend on the value of the assets you have that the attorney can find in public records. If there is enough, they could feel comfortable moving forward.

Hello. I had a dog bite situation at my multifamily property 2 mos ago. I own a 5-unit “hybrid” property, made up of 2 SFRs and 3 MHs worth about $225k. I have insurance - always a good idea, esp with lower income units. See Kurt Kelley’s post; those with perceived $$ can be targeted by certain folks sometimes

Actually, we had 2 incidents. A tenants dog bit another tenant, then 1 month later bit my contractor. Thankfully no parties are looking to sue me. Police reports filed and animal control was contacted. Dog was even removed by animal control, plus in my leases we say “no dogs”.

I believe you’re in a tough situation. Disclosure: I’m not an attorney. Even if you sell, because the incident occurred on “your watch” you may still be relevant to things. Need to see what the statute of limitations is. One option is to see if the affected party will sign a Release of Liability/Imdemnity Letter accepting a definitive sum of money from you. Place an arbitration clause in there as well.

All the best!

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Johnny, sorry to hear of your troubles. Let me know if you are selling and details of the park (location, number of pads, etc.). We may be interested in purchasing the park.


Is the “neighbor” who owns the dog also a tenant.

And, yes, of course you should contact your lawyer immediately if not sooner.

Do you have a “No Pets” stipulation in their lease? Do you have a list of which types of dogs aren’t allowed? In SC a part owner can be liable if the KNOWINGLY allow someone to keep an aggressive-type dog in their home.
Did they say why they’re suing YOU for what happened and not the dog owner?

hi Kurt and all who commented on this. How about this solution going forward - Can mobile home park owners require that all tenants with Dogs have active homeowners insurance policy as ( the way i understand it ) , a mobile home homeowners policy covers Dog bites? Thoughts?

…or does a renters policy cover pets? I’m sure there’s some coverage that could be required. It’s a good idea.

Great idea. I always have the clause in my lease requiring renters insurance. From what I’ve heard though, problem is so many tenants either dont get it, or let their policy lapse.

You would need to employ a process where you check for active policies regularly. In addition, to this, you would need to read through the insurance policy and determine if the proper coverage is in place (dog bites covered?)

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It’s labor intensive, but can be done. We use Buildium and once we get the homeowners policy initially set up, it will automatically notify tenants when it lapses to put in their new info. We check for specifics if we know they have a dog. Of course, only the good tenants you never need to worry about input their info, so chasing the other 75% becomes the task.