Homeowners’ insurance and dog attacks

On Behalf of | Apr 3, 2023 | Dog Attacks |

Dog owners must keep their pets from hurting others. If an owner’s negligence leads to their pet biting someone, the victim might bring a lawsuit in a North Carolina courtroom. In many liability cases, the defendant may seek protection from the financial fallout from their personal liability coverage under their homeowners’ insurance coverage. Whether the policy covers the incident depends on the terms of the contract.

Homeowners’ coverage and dog bites

First, it is essential to point out that the dog’s owner would only be liable for dog bite incidents if they were negligent in some way. When a person ignores beware of dog signs and trespasses on someone’s property to steal and deliberately agitates the dog, the homeowner may not be liable. However, letting a dog run loose without a leash and not keeping an eye on a dog known for being aggressive could be negligent.

Homeowners would need to check their policies to see if it covers dog bite incidents. Often, these policies have low coverage limits and exclude dangerous breeds, such as pit bulls and Doberman pinschers. Unlike personal liability coverage, the policy might not cover dog bites that happen off the property, which may follow an owner when leaving the property. Owners might need additional coverage to address dangerous breeds or increase coverage limits.

Dog bit litigation

Victims of dog attacks may sue regardless of what someone’s homeowners’ policy covers. They could sue above policy limits, or they may sue even when bit by an excluded breed. However, they would need to recover any compensation from the owner’s funds when insurance policies don’t cover the losses. Those losses could involve substantial medical bills.

The lawsuit may seek punitive damages and even compensation for mental trauma. What the victim seeks depends on the case’s specifics.