Last month I hired an electrician to do some re-wiring in my garage. The electrician was working on my property for about an hour when my neighbor opened her back door to let her pit bull dog out to do his business. The dog was not leashed. As soon as the dog saw my electrician, he came charging after him into my yard. My electrician panicked when he saw the dog charging towards him and took a flying leap into the back carriage of his pick up truck. As a result my electrician smashed his knee and had to undergo surgery. He is currently having physical therapy and probably will be out of work for 9 months. He hired a lawyer. The lawyer wanted to know if I had liability insurance for my house. Would I be liable? Isn't the dog owner and the owner of the house next door liable?
With the facts as you describe them I do not believe you have any liability. You are correct the owner of the dog is responsible for the harm caused by his dog. Nevertheless, you should turn this matter over to your homeowners insurance company. They probably will not pay the claim but in less you want to hire your own lawyer to represent you you should turn this matter over. After all, this is exactly why you buy insurance. Simply turning this matter over to your insurance company is not any admission of liability.
The answer to the question you're asking about whether or not you could be liable is not necessarily clear. Certainly, however, if you have liability insurance on your home, you should be protected and covered by that insurance for any claim that might be made. You are correct that the dog's owner might also be liable and the electrician might, also, have some responsibility himself for how he reacted to the situation. However, you should leave this to your insurance company and the lawyer that they would hire to represent you if it comes to that. That is exactly why you have insurance on your home. In other words, I would recommend that you turn the attorney's letter over to your homeowners insurance agent so that they can be sure that you are properly protected.
Simply turn it over to your homeowners insurance company to resolve.
I would turn this over to your homeowners insurance. Odds are there will be no liability on your part but your insurance company will have a duty to defend you should you be sued.
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