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Does a homeowners insurance have a duty for a personal injury resulting from a dog bite if there is a canine exclusion clause?

Los Angeles, CA |

California law holds dog owners strictly liable for any dog bites/injuries. If there is a personal injury claim against a dog owner whose homeowner insurance has a canine exclusion clause in the homeowners contract, and the tortfeasor has no personal assets, what can the injured plaintiff do? Can the injured plaintiff hold the homeowners insurance liable for the injury?

Attorney Answers 6


  1. Best answer

    Make sure that you get a copy of the insurance policy and read it to see exactly what is excluded. Often, the canine exclusion is only for certain breeds of dogs. If the breed at issue isn't mentioned, then coverage would still exist.

    If the dog is excluded from the coverage, then the home owner will not have coverage. You could still pursue the action and ultimately get a judgment against them. Whether they are ever able to pay it is a different matter. If you don't believe that this person will have the means to pay you, then it will be a long drawn out fight for no recovery.

    I hope you find a way to activate the coverage.

    Good Luck.

    This response applies to California Law only and does not create any legal relationship between the attorney and the person who submitted the question.


  2. If the insurer specifically excluded the exact type of injury, then no, there will be no duty even to defend the homeowner in suit.


  3. If you are the potential plaintiff, you should immediately consult with a local personal injury attorney. If you are the potential defendant and you policy has such an exclusion , consult with a personal injury attorney


  4. To get the HO ins on the hook you will need to show they improperly altered your policy and did not provide proper notice, etc... It is unlikely to have punitive damages awarded in a dog bite case, but there isn't enough facts here to address. If there are puni's awarded they will not be discharged through a BK


  5. A local lawyer would need to review the policy


  6. If you obtain a judgement, there are ways to collect on it such as wage garnishment.

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