If the homeowners policy was revised to have a "canine exclusion," the only way to hold the insurance company responsible would be to argue that the revision is unenforceable, either because it was misrepresented to you or changed during a coverage period for which you had already paid and during which the claim arose.
You'd need to discuss the dischargeability of a punitive damages award with a BK attorney, but my understanding is that punitive damages fall within the 523(a)(6) exemption from discharge. That said, unless you were sicking the dogs on someone, it would be hard to imagine that punitive damages would be warranted in a dog bite case.
I hope this helps.
This answer is a general interpretation of the law and is not fact specific to your case. Likewise it does not create an attorney-client relationship. You should seek an attorney for a review of your specific facts and documents.
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
In addition to the other answers, you should have the policy language reviewed by an atty who specializes in ins coverage disputes. Sometimes the language in the exclusion or the location, type size etc can invalidate or show that it may not apply. Some policies try to exclude certain breeds, and those clauses have been challenged when the dog is shown to have multiple breed lineage.
Doubtful that punitive damages will be awarded in dog bite case, but you haven't provided details. The mere fact that punis are awarded, doesn't necessarily mean they are non dischargeable in BK. Bk law has its own interpretation of what is not dischargeable, so you would want to talk to a Bk atty. You need to do that anyway, as you need to know what assets you can protect etc if you have to file. You have a home, and if you have equity, you need to see if you can protect the home.
Were I judge or Juror (I have served in both capacities) I would not hesitate to award punitive damages as to a dog which was maintained with a conscious indifference to the dog's risk of biting humans.
If you had knowledge of the exclusion and did not contest it and or opposed it while you had the chance, I doubt your company will be liable. On the other hand, if they changed the policy without notice to you , then you may have a fighting chance. Best of luck.
This answer is provided by California Accident Attorney Manuel A. Juarez, Esq., 510-206-4492. Abogado de Accidentes de Autos de California: 510-206-4492. Abogado de Lesiones de Accidentes de Autos, provides answers of a general context. These answers are not intended to form an attorney client relationship. Oakland Abogado Accidentes Autos, Abogado de Lesiones Personales, Abogado de Accidentes de carros, Abogado de accidentes de Peatones, practices in Antioch, Berkeley, Concord, Oakland, Hayward, Martinez, Newark, Richmond, San Francisco and San Rafael. El abogado de lesiones y heridos en accidentes de autos, is licensed only in California. This information is good only in California and it is not to be taken as legal advice on car accidents, personal injury, divorce, bankruptcy or in any other type of situation. Esta respuesta es del Abogado de Accidentes de Autos, Abogado de Lesiones Personales, Abogado de Heridos en Accidentes de carros, Manuel A. Juárez, 510-206-4492. Abogado Hispano de Accidentes, Abogado de Divorcios, Abogado Latino de Accidentes, Abogado de Accidentes de Oakland, Hayward, San Francisco, California. Estas respuesta son solo para información general y no consisten en consejo legal sobre divorcios, mantención de esposas, mantención de hijos o bancarrotas. Las respuestas son comentarios legales que no forman una relación de abogado y cliente. Manuel Juarez, Esq., esta licenciado solo en el Estado de California.
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