In many Pennsylvania dog bite cases, insurance often applies, thus providing a source of coverage or compensation for an injured dog attack victim. Oftentimes, the source of insurance is a homeowners’ or renters’ insurance policy, or a general liability insurance policy. The reality is that insurance often plays a significant role in dog bite cases in Pennsylvania. This is a fact that many people simply don’t know.
Homeowners/renters’ insurance policies work much like general liability policies. These policies don't just cover the insured property, they also cover the insured individual (and family members residing in the household). Basically, these policies apply to both accidents and incidents that occur on the property, as well as, those that occur off the property, i.e., situations where the insured individual commits some act of negligence. Below is a discussion of two examples which explain these principles.
Related: Dog attacks owner [Awarded: $1,000,000 settlement]
Example – Dog Bite Occurs on an Insured Property
A dog owner in Pennsylvania owns 2 dogs which are known to be aggressive. The dogs have previously nipped at neighbors. On one occasion, a neighbor is approaching the house to pay the dog owner a social visit. The dogs escape through the front door and attack the neighbor, causing serious injuries. Is the dog owner liable for the injuries? Probably, since the dogs escaped from the front door and attacked the neighbor without provocation.
Assuming the dog owner has homeowners’ insurance, the neighbor’s injuries are likely to be covered because the incident occurred on the insured property. In other words, the neighbor could make a claim with the dog owner’s insurance company and obtain financial compensation for the injuries.
Example – Dog Attack Occurs Off an Insured Property
Let’s use the same example as above, but let’s change the facts. The dog attack doesn’t occur on the insured property. Rather, the dogs escape the front yard. Two streets over, the dogs attack a small child and cause major injuries. Is the dog owner liable for this attack? Again, the answer is, probably. Since the dogs escaped (i.e., were not under reasonable control of the owner), the owner would be liable.
Like the example above, the child could file a claim with the dog owner’s insurance company, even though the attack did not occur on the insured property. In this instance, the homeowners’ insurance policy works like a general liability policy, covering the dog owner’s acts of negligence (failure to maintain control of his dogs) which led to an attack off the property.
If you've been injured in a dog bite or attack and want to know if you can receive financial compensation through an insurance claim, contact our dog bite lawyers in PA for a free consultation. (877) 944-8396