While walking home, a neighborhood dog bit a viewer’s daughter on the leg. She needs stitches. Can the family sue the dog’s owner?
Haley Bianco: We hope you’re enjoying your Memorial Day. We are here. We have “The Law & You” today. How are you guys?
Ed Ciarimboli: Good. I hope everybody is safe today. Stay safe.
Haley: Very important.
Ed: Yes. No drinking or driving, no drinking and boating.
Haley: Well you can drink. Just be safe about it. I say for the DD, correct?
Ed: Yes. Uber, Lyft, all the above. Just don’t get behind the wheel.
Haley: And if you do have a problem, you just got to give them a call. They can get some help. So, let’s get this question today. This comes from Sydney in Wilkes-Barre. Sydney says, “My daughter was walking home in a neighborhood dog bit her on the leg. She needed stitches. Can she sue the dog owner?” Good question.
Ed: The question is can you see the dog owner? Yes. Do you have a good case against the dog owner? Maybe. There is no such thing as a one-bite rule. It doesn’t exist in Pennsylvania. But you want to see if the dog on a leash. Was the dog off of a leash, was the dog in a yard, was the dog being supervised, all these questions become very critical in establishing liability against the owner of the dog. Because you have to ultimately establish that the owner of the dog was negligent in watching the dog or supervising the dog and that is what ultimately allowed the bite.
Greg Fellerman: And what covers these cases is, it’s a homeowner’s policy. So sometimes, the first question we ask is, “Do you know if the dog is owned by someone?” Who owns a home? Do they rent? Because that’s where the coverage comes from because sometimes you know people have dogs and they’re not responsible. They don’t have any of that and then it’s tough to collect or basically they’re judgment-proof. Yeah, so it does fall under your homeowners and if you have a dog make sure you’re covered. Check with your agent. Obviously, make sure you have the proper insurance.
Haley: I got to write a note down for that. I don’t know if I’m covered. I got to check.
Ed: Most definitely check. But Greg’s right. Depending on the breed of the dog. There are some breeds of dogs that homeowners insurance will not cover because the dogs have violent propensities. So, you want to make sure that you know, you’re checking that on your homeowners’ policy. Give a quick call to your agent to make sure that you are covered in those situations.
Haley: Yep, some really good advice and I’m learning a lot here, too. Thank you guys so much for your time today. Have a great rest of your Memorial Day.
The Law & You is a nightly feature on channels WBRE-TV 28 and WYOU-TV 22 where the attorneys from Fellerman & Ciarimboli answer legal questions. If you have a question that you want answered by the Law & You attorneys, please submit the form on this page or call the hotline at 1-888-570-HURT.