More on Dog Bites and Homeowner’s Insurance

Recently, I was walking my dog through my neighborhood, and a particularly fierce-looking doberman barked and barked at us as we walked by.  The dog was restrained by only a chicken-wire fence and a baby gate.  He really looked like he wanted to rip us apart, and given the shoddy fence situation, I was hoping he wouldn’t.

Later on when I got home (because I am a nerd, and this is my job), I thought about whether or not the underlying homeowner’s policy would cover my personal injuries and injuries to my corgi puppy, Millie,  had the dog, God-forbid, gotten through the “fence” and attacked us. This is the inspiration for today’s post. Every now and again, this happens. Dog is man’s best friend, yet some dogs can be pretty dangerous if they aren’t socialized and trained adequately.

We have talked about why and how dog owners are liable for the injuries their dogs can cause here.  This post will focus on the insurance policies in this unfortunate situation.

I made an assumption that the folks who owned the doberman were likely renters because it was a multi-unit facility, and I worried about whether or not they had insurance to cover the liability their dog could cause.  If we assume that they did not, I also wondered whether the landlord’s underlying homeowner’s policy could cover the potential injuries.

The answer is that it depends, and that is precisely why you should contact a personal injury attorney to examine any injurious situation.  If you come across a hazard that causes you an injury on rental property, a personal injury attorney can look to the underlying insurance coverage to determine how to proceed with your claim.  If the renter had renter’s insurance with liability coverage, you can recover.  If the underlying property owner’s insurance includes this type of language, you can recover against the policy, and in certain other instances where the landlord was on notice of an unsafe condition, you can recover against the landlord.

You won’t know for sure until you contact a lawyer and have him or her examine your potential claim.

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