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My dog (personal property) is kept within my 2-2/3 acres lot…

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My golden retriever dog (personal...
My golden retriever dog (personal property) is kept within my 2-2/3 acres lot with an invisable electronic fence and did NOT get outside of my property in Pennsylvania. My mother-in-law drove on my driveway and ran over the dog and broke its leg when it ran after her car. She contacted her home owner insurance agent in the state of Pennsylvania and the agent told her she is not responsible for any of the vet bills and that its my responsibility to keep the dog on a leash? Is she responsible for damaging my personal property? I have asked her twice before to slow down but she has the attitude that she & her husband have the right of way in my driveway. They are both old school farmers that treat animals as disposable property. What is your recommendation to stop her from running over my dog again?

Below is the email I sent her but she got offended.

"For your information of what we have invested with this personal property over the past 3 years. I did not realize it was this much until I started listing it.

Total $4,025 (does not includes any costs associated with broken foot)    

As you can see this property is a considerable expense much more than one would think. One that I figured was a good investment to provide Tina and the kids with a fuller life that is why I got the animal for them. It cannot be considered disposable property or a replaceble animal. Forgiving and forgetting takes time and to run its course the animal has to completely regain its health to its original state. Hopefully this is possible and she does not loose her foot as the Vet advised Friday night could happen if her foot goes cold or if the tissue damage is that extensive & severe that she does not regain the nerves in her foot and it goes numb.

I have asked Tina to request this but I dont expect she will out of fear. So I am sending this none emotion email to avoid further arguement and hard feelings. If the dog approaches a car in our driveway THE CAR & PERSONS IN THE CAR DO NOT have the right of way in OUR drive with respect to our animal and our property. At this location the car should stop, park and the driver and passengers should walk if the animal approaches the car. If this cannot be confidently accomplished then the car should be parked at the turn in the drive before the electronic fence before the animal can approach the vehicle.

Cars approaching should drive SLOW in our driveway as to avoid damaging the animal and a VERY conscious look out for the animal approaching the vehicle is necessary if your visiting. Maybe I need to put up a sign. It is not the animals responsibilty to get out of the way of the car. The dog is not intelligent enough to do this without extensive training. This is difficult to train when the animal has so much affection for the person(s) in the car. One way to avoid this is to NOT show the animal ANY affection at all and the AVOID all interaction with the animal then the animals affection may eventually reduce and could possibly in time not approach the recognized vehicle as much. This will help me with training the animal. I will try to train the animal after she regains health but training her may not work. This is going to be a very difficult habit to break. Another option is a cell phone call to our house from the bottom of our drive every time you visit so we can make sure the dog is in doors to avoid your approaching vehicle.

An animal will not learn a lesson from getting hit by a vehicle once, twice or three times. They are too STUPID and not intelligent enough they live in the moment their intelligence is considerable less than a person with downsyndrum or autisism. We do not have the animal on a leash or tied to a cage because we invested several hundred of dollars in an electronic fence to keep the animal contained within our property and allow it to run freely. This was a choice to allow the animal run freely on OUR property to have a fuller life. It is NOT OUR responsibility to keep OUR ANIMAL away from approaching vehicles by others on OUR property. It's the drivers responbility to avoid the animal (if this was a public street or another persons property then it would be our responsibility to keep the animal on a leash to avoid drivers).

Typically if someone damages anothers property there insurance covers the accident please consider checking with your auto or home owners insurance company to find out if there is any coverage. When personal propery is damaged then party who caused the damage typically pays for the damage regardless if it was an accident or what the property is (i.e. animal, vehicle, or fence). I recognize and appreciate everything that you both do for our family but its a two way street we do our share in return as well and that is not relevant to the accident. When I accidentally backed into Tina's car in my parents driveway when we 1st met I made the situation whole again and paid for all the costs to repair her Tempo I cannot see how this is any different.

Thank you for the $200 toward the vets 1st bill. As you see the expenses continue. Currently at $444 minus $200 = $244. I estimate the total costs will be $650 to $700 if we do not have to remove her foot but if we do have to remove her foot I have not idea how much more surgery could be. The next 4 to 6 weeks will determine the outcome.

Ralph" [email protected]


Submitted: 8 years ago.Category: Legal
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Answered in 16 minutes by:
6/22/2010
Lawyer: socrateaser, Lawyer replied 8 years ago
socrateaser
socrateaser, Lawyer
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 40,170
Experience: Retired
Verified

Every person owes a duty of reasonable care to avoid the risk of causing foreseeable injury to others. That is the legal definition of negligence. If your mother-in-law hit the dog without taking reasonable care, then regardless of the dog not being on a leash, your mother-in-law may have been negligent, and that would entitle you to damages -- regardless of what the insurer says.

 

After all, the insurer is in the business of avoiding liability, so unless you hire a lawyer to sue your mother-in-law, it's damn certain that the insurer isn't going to jump through any hoops to offer a settlement payment.

 

As for what you can do about the situation, the botXXXXX XXXXXne is that you can either demand payment and sue for negligence if you don't get it, or you can let it go, in the interest of maintaining a civil relationship with your inlaws.

 

There's really no in between here. It's an all or nothing proposition.

 

Hope this helps.

 

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Customer reply replied 8 years ago
Its really not about the money I want to maintain a civil relationship with my in laws. I need to forgive her but I cannot until she realizes she did something wrong and more importantly agrees to not doing it again. Do you have any recommendations? At this point because she talked to her home owners insurance agent she does not feel like she is responsible to avoid this in the future.
Lawyer: socrateaser, Lawyer replied 8 years ago

You could hire a mediator who is a retired judge to explain to your mother-in-law that could be held liable if you chose to sue her. That'a about all I can think of that might be useful.

 

As you've pointed out, your mother comes from a point of view where animals are just livestock. So, she won't relate to your emotional involvment. She will just view you as weak for thinking of the dog as deserving of consideration.

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Customer reply replied 8 years ago
Relist: Incomplete answer.
What is your recommendation to stop her from running over my dog again?

Can I require her to provide reasonable care in the future to avoid running over the dog again?

What is the law in the state of Pennsylvania if the dog is on my property?
Lawyer: socrateaser, Lawyer replied 8 years ago

What is your recommendation to stop her from running over my dog again?

 

A: Per website policy, I cannot "recommend" a course of action. I "justanswer" questions about the law.

 

Can I require her to provide reasonable care in the future to avoid running over the dog again?

 

A: You can ask her whatever you want. However, I seriously doubt that she will honor your request, absent it being delivered by a lawyer who is simultaneously threatning to sue.

 

What is the law in the state of Pennsylvania if the dog is on my property?

 

A: The law is the common law of negligence, that I have already explained. There are also laws about licensing and about dangerous dogs -- but, nothing concerning the maintenance of the dog on a person's own property. There may be a local ordinance, but I cannot address that, because it's local to your municipality or county.

 

Hope this helps.

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