Appeals Court: Auto Insurance Does Not Cover Dog Bite Injury

June 10, 2011

Automobile insurance coverage does not apply to claims resulting from an injury from a dog bite, a U.S. Court of Appeals in San Francisco has ruled.

According to court documents in Oregon Mutual Insurance Co. v. National General Insurance Co., a claimant was injured by a dog bite when he approached the back of the insured’s pickup truck. Oregon Mutual settled legal claims against the insured, but filed suit in federal district court against National seeking equitable contribution, subrogation, indemnity and declaratory belief.

The Appeals Court ruled that the injury did not qualify for coverage under the insured’s auto policy because coverage only applies when a motor vehicle is in use — “operating, maintaining, loading or unloading” — and the use was not a substantial factor or predominating cause of the claimant’s injury.

“Although the dog occupied the truck’s bed … the truck merely provided the situs for the inury,” the Appeals Court wrote. “As the injury from the dog bite did not arise out of the ‘use’ of the vehicle, a claim under the auto insurance policy fails, and we affirm the district court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of National.”

Was this article valuable?

Here are more articles you may enjoy.