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Raymond Fries
07-14-2014, 8:53 PM
My daughter was at one her friends house here in Fort Wayne IN and the home is owned by her father The sister of the woman that lives in that house was visiting from Chicago and had her dog with her. My daughter received a nasty bite from the dog in that house and the medical expenses is over $1,000 for her treatment. The father says his home owners insurance will not pay for it. And it appears that he will not pay either.

I believe that the liability is on him because it is his house. It should be his responsibility to either pay or have his insurance pay. Correct?

I think she can file a small claims case against him and be awarded damages. Correct?

What are your thoughts?

Thanks

Jason Roehl
07-14-2014, 9:03 PM
I think the standard procedure is to file suit against all 3 people and the insurance company, then let the courts sort it out. I'm not saying that's right or good, just how it often is.

Phil Thien
07-14-2014, 9:16 PM
Why don't you ask the owner of the dog to pay the $1000?

Patrick McCarthy
07-14-2014, 9:19 PM
Can't answer for Indiana, but can give you a thumbnail of how it would play out in California.

1. Dog owner is strictly liable for the damages from the bite. She is the main target . . . as it should be.

2. Property owner needs to protect against "an unreasonable risk of harm" on his property, of which he has notice. Therefore, Homeowner not necessarily responsible unless he knew of prior problems with dog and did nothing. [So, if you bring your dog to my house and it bites someone else - a fellow creeker - it is not automatically my problem just because it happened at my home.]

3. We usually think of the Liability coverage afforded to protect us when we think of HO's policies. However, most Homeowners Insurance policies have a separate provision for Medical Payments Coverage which usually covers limited amount of medical bills for injuries occurring upon the property , regardless of fault. A lot of these policies have low MPC limits of $1,000 to $5,000. [ If I am at your house and trip over my own two feet, fall and get injured, this coverage would be triggered even though you did nothing wrong. Note, limited coverage and only for medical bills. No pain and suffering component, etc.] YOUR DAUGHTER SHOULD LOOK INTO THIS POSSIBILITY, AS THIS IS WHAT IT WAS DESIGNED TO HELP.

4. Does lady living in house (presumably a renter) have a separate renter's policy?

Hope that helps a bit. Sorry for your daughter's pain.

Charlie Velasquez
07-14-2014, 11:01 PM
Similar, Minnesota: While waking my dog on public sidewalk he was attacked by a pit bull owned by the adult son visiting his mom. Her homeowner's policy eventually paid medical bills and associated costs. At first there was a question. A lawyer explained I could not sue the insurance company as they had no fault in the attack. I could sue the son and homeowner. It was up to them to sue the insurance company if they thought the company was defaulting on their responsibility.

It is important to report the dog. In many states/municipalities the first bite is "free" as far as animal control. But reporting it puts the animal on notice as being dangerous.

Kev Williams
07-14-2014, 11:35 PM
Similar scenario: Say the dog is in the bed of his friend's pickup truck and bites you as you walk by-- who should pay the doctor bill, the dog's owner, or the truck owner's insurance company?

It's the dog owner's responsibility, not who pays the premiums of the nearest insured object.

Raymond Fries
07-14-2014, 11:48 PM
Phil, - the owner was asked to pay and refused. She left the state before animal control could impound the dog.
The dog's owner did not even look up from the television when Sarah was being attacked. I guess that pretty much sums up how the owner feels about it.

Going to call the small claims office tomorrow to get their advice.

Wade Lippman
07-15-2014, 12:00 AM
Depends on who, if anyone, is negligent. In all likelihood that is the dog owner, but it could also be the homeowner. Of course, it could also be the person bitten.

Brad Adams
07-15-2014, 1:05 AM
Let your insurance company know where the bite happened. In my experience, if they can place fault somewhere else, they will fight it out with the other person's insurance company. A woman once slipped and fell on the curb between our business and the street. Guess who's insurance ended up paying the bill. There was nothing we could do about, even though we didn't cause her to fall, her insurance company sued ours to pay the bill. It happens all the time.

Larry Whitlow
07-15-2014, 1:22 AM
I agree with Patrick's comments about the med payment coverage -- kind of intended as a first aid type coverage for medical items. You may want to ask your medical insurer if they will go after the dog owner, renter, or landlord. If you do recover directly, I'm sure they will want to be reimbursed for their portion of the med bills.

As an additional thought, I would not be guided by what the landlord says his policy will or will not pay. If you pursue this, name him, the renter, and the dog owner. I also agree with what was previously stated that dog bites full under the rules of strict liability (understand however that I am not a lawyer). If you have the dog owner's name, you can take it from there. Sounds like you made a report to some agency. If you haven't already, I suggest you make a police report. If they ask about filing charges, I hope you say yes.

I'm getting tired of people who have no control over and will not take responsibility for their pets. My wife has two well behaved Maltese dogs that are always on leash when in public. I can't tell you how many times we have had to worry about some buffoon's dog lunging after ours. A large dog vs. our two dogs that weigh less than 20 pounds combined is not exactly a fair match. Both of them might be able to tag team a mini wiener dog, but that is about it.

Larry Whitlow
07-15-2014, 1:26 AM
Similar scenario: Say the dog is in the bed of his friend's pickup truck and bites you as you walk by-- who should pay the doctor bill, the dog's owner, or the truck owner's insurance company?

It's the dog owner's responsibility, not who pays the premiums of the nearest insured object.

Clearly the dog owner should pay. However, in our world it is likely the friend would also be found to be negligent.

Phil Thien
07-15-2014, 5:56 AM
Phil, - the owner was asked to pay and refused. She left the state before animal control could impound the dog.
The dog's owner did not even look up from the television when Sarah was being attacked. I guess that pretty much sums up how the , owner feels about it.

Going to call the small claims office tomorrow to get their advice.

Chicago has some of the most aggressive animal control policies in the country. Time to get on the phone with the city and find out where to send copies of the medical bills so they can determine whether that dog has a history and what to do about it.

Your call could save some little kid from disfigurement.

Rich Engelhardt
07-15-2014, 8:21 AM
It's the dog owner's responsibility, not who pays the premiums of the nearest insured object.We have a million dollar "umbrella liability" policy just because in this world, it all boils down to who ever appears to have the deepest pockets is the one that's targeted as the responsible party.

Right or wrong have little to nothing to do with the way judgments are handed down these days & for all I know, in days gone by also.

Jim Matthews
07-15-2014, 8:33 AM
This sounds like a family to avoid.

It will be no great loss to you and yours to
sue the socks off these people.

The threat of financial damages might persuade the homeowner
to get the dog owner to cough up costs incurred.

I'm in agreement with what was mentioned above,
a dog that bites once will do so again.

Plenty of dogs in the world, dangerous dogs should not be tolerated.