Verdict: Insurance must pay for consequences of a dog bite

19. August 2020, 12:46

Law / Taxes | Insurance

A pet owner’s liability insurance must cover the consequences of a dog bite despite a generally effective disclaimer. The Frankfurt Higher Regional Court decided that and announced it on Wednesday.

In 2012, a plaintiff’s dog bit a two-year-old child in the face in a park with a playground. The child then had to be hospitalized for a month and a half. A penalty warrant was issued against the owner of the dog for negligent bodily harm. She was also sentenced to pay the child almost 100,000 euros. The woman then wanted the insurance to cover this amount.

The applicant did not consciously violate the relevant laws

The Wiesbaden Regional Court had dismissed the lawsuit. However, the higher regional court found the woman right in the appeal proceedings. In its general conditions, the insurance had excluded claims that were caused by “deliberate deviation from the laws, ordinances and official orders or orders serving the keeping and breeding of dogs”. According to the court, this regulation is also effective, but in this case the plaintiff did not consciously violate the relevant laws or regulations.

Encounter contacts are prohibited

The dog had already bitten a ten-year-old girl a year earlier. Thereupon the responsible district administration department had ordered “that contact between the dog and children up to about 14 years of age should be avoided.” However, a specific deliberate breach of duty could not be ascertained, according to the court. It cannot be proven that the woman knew that it was forbidden to enter the premises with a dog. The plaintiff also stated that she had not previously known the playground. You also did not notice any signs prohibiting dogs. The verdict is not yet legally binding. (dpa-AFX)

Photo: Shutterstock

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