A Massachusetts woman was mauled to death in a tragic dog attack that occurred less than 20 miles from Providence, Rhode Island last month. According to a local news report, the woman was having a seizure when she was attacked by her family’s eight-year-old pit bull. Medical crews and police were called to the scene to subdue the dog and render aid, and the woman was taken to a nearby hospital, where she died as a result of the injuries that she sustained. According to the woman’s family, she had owned the dog since it was a puppy, and the dog had not exhibited aggressive behavior toward the woman in the past, although her seizure may have caused the dog to panic and bite its owner.
Rhode Island dog bites cause serious injuries each year, and they often result in the hospitalization of the bite victim. Dog owners can be held accountable in a civil claim for the damages that result from their dog’s actions. Attacks that occur at the dog owner’s home, or possibly elsewhere, may be covered by a Rhode Island homeowner’s insurance policy, even in situations in which the bite victim is the owner of the home. Some insurance policies contain exclusions for dog or animal attacks, and homeowners should be sure to have the correct policy in effect and notify their insurance company if they intend to purchase a pet.
Homeowner’s insurance policy exclusions are not always black-and-white, and insurance companies have been known to deny coverage for an incident or injury based on a supposed exclusion in the policy, which may not be applicable or enforceable under state law. Insurance policies are sometimes written to benefit the insurance company and encourage denials of claims that are actually covered under the policy if someone takes a closer look. Dog bites aren’t the only type of injury that may be covered under a homeowner’s policy, and injuries that occur far from the property may also be covered. Any injuries that occur as a result of negligence by a homeowner or their dependent should be evaluated by a legal expert to determine if there is a possible claim under the homeowner’s insurance policy to recover damages.