Although Betty Meitzler felt terrorized when she was attacked by her neighbor’s pit-bull in Geneva, Seminole County last week, she might get an even bigger shock if she tries to collect money for her damages from the dog owner’s insurance company. 89-year old Ms. Meitzler claims the dog’s attack was unprovoked. She hit the dog as hard as she could with her cane, but only the dog’s owner could pull the offending pit-bull off of Ms. Meitzler. Unfortunately, this dog will likely be euthanized because it was already labeled a “dangerous dog” due to at least one previously reported attack. Under Florida law, Ms. Meitzler would clearly have a claim for damages against the dog’s owner. However, actually collecting money may well be another matter. First, if the dog’s owner does not have homeowner’s insurance, and has no real assets, it might not be worth the victim’s time to pursue an injury claim. Second — and perhaps most worrying to me as a Florida dog bite attorney — even if the homeowner has insurance, this kind of attack might not be covered. Several insurance carriers now write homeowners policies that include exclusions for dog bites, or exclusions for dog bites caused by certain breeds of dogs. Can you guess which breed of dog is almost always on these lists? That’s right — pit-bulls. In this instance, we are going to keep our fingers crossed that the owner of this pit-bull carried quality homeowner’s coverage, and that there is no dog bite exclusion of any kind that will apply to Ms. Meitzler. If you have any questions regarding a Florida dog bite attack, call Winter Park personal injury attorneys Kim Cullen and Robert Hemphill at...Read More »
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