Our dog chased and startled a group of bicyclists, causing some to fall...

by Charlotte
(Staunton, IL)

We live out of town on a "frontage" road, several miles outside of City limits, with no close neighbors. My husband and I were unloading our truck and a bunch of bicyclists came down the road. Our Mastiff was loose (we let her loose when we are outside with her).

She ran out and startled the back half of the bikers and a couple fell. One got pretty scraped up. Luckily she had a helmet on and there were no cracks or serious injuries. This happened in Macoupin County in Illinois.

What are our liabilities in this situation? Can they file a lawsuit against us if they were injured? Thanks for any information you can give.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Our dog chased and startled a group of bicyclists, causing some to fall...":

Charlotte (Staunton, IL):

It is unlikely you will be sued. However, you may receive a letter from one or more of the injured cyclists asking you to pay for their medical bills and resulting damages. Damages can include their medical and chiropractic bills, out of pocket expenses (for such items as medications, bandages, etc.), lost wages, and for their pain and suffering.

If this occurs, contact your homeowners insurance company. You may be covered for the injuries caused by your dog. Most homeowner's insurance policies provide $100,000 to $300,000 in liability coverage, but certain breeds might not be covered.

Unfortunately, once your dog bites someone, your insurance premiums may rise or future dog bites may not be covered. Check your policy and the coverage limits. Read more about dog bite liability at the Insurance Information Institute.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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