Dog Bite Victim Loses|Award Against Parents

     (CN) – A 25-year-old woman who sued her parents after their dog bit her in the face can’t collect her $100,000 award from their insurance company because the woman lived with them at the time of the attack, a New Jersey Appellate Court ruled.

     Jamie Sierfeld had moved back into her parents’ home after she lost her job, and didn’t pay rent or contribute to the household finances.
     But when Sierfeld was bit in the face by her parents’ dog, she sued her parents and Allstate, the carrier of the homeowners’ insurance policy.
     Under the Allstate policy, members of the household would not be covered under such claims. Sierfeld , however, claimed to be a resident of the home, not necessarily a member of the household.
     She was awarded $100,000, but Allstate won an appeal on the basis that her parents had a stake in the outcome of the settlement.
     The New Jersey Superior Court Appellate Division affirmed the lower court’s decision, finding that although the words “resident” and “household” in the insurance policy are ambiguous, it does not give the court the right to change the details of the policy.

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