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My dog was hit by a bike and killed. Who is responsible for damage to the bike?

Warriors Mark, PA |
Filed under: Animal law

My dog was tied up in the back yard and got loose when I wasn't home. I live on a straight stretch of road out in the country. The neighbors were trying to get her to come and she darted in front of the bike and was killed. She was a 85 lb. German Shepard. The speed limit in front of our house is 55 mph. I just don't understand how he didn't see her or how a bike killed a dog that big. He never fell off his bike and he didn't have to dump the bike either. Could he be cited for speeding maybe? Can I counter sue for my dog? Like we already lost a member of our family. We are just devastated.

Attorney Answers 4


  1. Sympathy for your loss.You might be able to bring a claim or counterclaim for damage depending on the degree of negligence of the rider.There were apparently witnesses to the event.Failing to keep your dog confined to the premises is considered a violation of the PA leash laws which means negligence to the owner if the dog escapes even where you're not around This would be an issue for you to overcome Even if you were negligent under the law there is still the issue of what most closely caused the accident which depends on the facts.Hopefully the matter can be resolved without litigation as it represents a tough case

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  2. So sorry for your loss. I don't think that you are responsible for damage to the bike, if there actually was any damage.

    I am an Attorney-at-Law, licensed to practice law only in the state of California. Unless we have both signed a formal retainer agreement, you are not my client, and my discussion of issues does not constitute legal advice. Opinions expressed herein are those of the author, and do not necessarily represent the opinions of those who hold other opinions.


  3. When you say bike do you really mean motorcycle?

    Your dog was probably in the wrong by running loose. This can translate to you being in the wrong for not properly securing your dog.

    I suggest you turn this matter over to your renter's or homeowner's insurance carrier and let them handle this for you. That is why you pay a premium.

    Legal Disclaimer:

    If this information has been helpful, please indicate below.

    Mr. Lundeen is licensed to practice law in Florida and Vermont. The response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter within the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that, if known, could significantly change the reply and make it unsuitable. Mr. Lundeen strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in your state in order to ensure proper advice is received.

    Legal Disclaimer: If this information has been helpful, please indicate below. Mr. Lundeen is licensed to practice law in Florida and Vermont. The response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter within the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that, if known, could significantly change the reply and make it unsuitable. Mr. Lundeen strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in your state in order to ensure proper advice is received.


  4. I agree that you should submit a claim to your insurance carrier. They may have an exclusion for dog-related claims, though. In any case, you should claim that the person on the bike was negligent in the speed that he was traveling and the way he was driving. As for your negligence, you should get all of the evidence you can to show that you took reasonable measures to keep your dog confined. It may not help much, but it could make a difference.

    As for filing a counterclaim for the death of your dog, you certainly can do this. Unfortunately, the law regarding damages for the death of a dog in Pennsylvania is not good. Basically, you will be limited to the fair market value of your dog. If your dog was pedigreed, and you paid a lot of money for her, then you should be able to recover that amount. If she was from the animal shelter, you likely will get very little. My condolences for your loss. Good luck!