A motorcycle rider in Iowa was killed last week when a dog ran out in the road in front of him. He hit the dog, lost control of his bike, and was thrown from the bike. He suffered fatal injuries as a result.Does the owner of the dog have any liability to the estate of the deceased rider, or does the estate have some liability to the dog owner? It is an unfortunate situation either way, but the law in Illinois provides a clear cut answer.The dog owner is liable for this wrongful death motorcycle accident. There are a couple of reasons for this:
- There is a statute in Illinois called the Domestic Animals Running at Large Act, which places liability on the owners of animals that get out of an enclosure (i.e., a yard) and cause injury while running at large; and
- The Illinois Motor Vehicle Code does not place any responsibility on the motorcycle rider to stop to avoid the dog.
As an experienced Chicago personal injury lawyer, I have handled two cases with similar facts. One was a case very much like this, except the rider was not killed in the motorcycle crash. In the other the dog jumped out an open window and attacked the rider as he went down the street. That one also did not result in fatal injuries, but the rider was seriously injured.In both cases, they key to the injured rider’s recovering any compensation was the existence of homeiowner’s insurance which covered the dog’s owner for the actions of the dog, just like with a dog bite suit.