Generally, the dog owner or their insurance is responsible for any costs related to injuries from a dog bite. The injuries caused by a dog bite may result in expensive medical bills, as about one in five dog bites need medical attention, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If it was not your fault, you should not have to pay for a dog bite.
Find out how you may get compensation from the owner liable for the dog’s actions right here. Review the role of insurance policies in dog attacks. Consider your options for filing a lawsuit to get payment for a dog bite.
Insurance Companies Often Pay for a Dog Bite
Generally, animal owners do not pay out-of-pocket for a dog bite. Sometimes, the dog bite takes place on the owner’s property. In this situation, you may be awarded compensation by the dog owner’s:
- Homeowner’s insurance policy
- Renter’s insurance policy
- Condominium owner’s insurance policy
- Landlord’s insurance policy
However, you may not be awarded compensation for your injuries automatically. Insurance agents may try to refute your claim in many situations. Insurance representatives are primarily concerned with protecting their company’s bottom line, so they may take steps to deny you compensation after an animal attack.
Building an Insurance Claim Following a Dog Bite
To get compensation from an insurance company after a canine attack, you may need to prove that the owner was liable for the dog’s behavior. Regulations on liability for animal attacks vary by state. In some states, you may need to prove that:
- A dog had a history of aggressive behavior
- A dog previously bit someone else
- You were legally on the property where the attack occurred
- You were bitten by a dog without provocation
However, some states have more lenient regulations for dog-owner liability in cases involving animal attacks. In some cases, the dog’s owner may be liable even if their dog never bit anyone before. You may wish to consult a dog bite lawyer to determine what the laws regarding dog bite liability are in your area.
Compensation from an Insurance Claim
There are thousands of insurance claims filed for dog bites every year in the U.S., according to the Insurance Information Institute. In the year 2019, the average payout for these claims was $44,760. Altogether, insurance policies paid out around $797 million for dog-related injuries.
As you can see, insurance companies often pay for dog bites. In cases where you settle a dog bite claim with an insurance company, you could end up receiving damages for your:
- Current medical expenses
- Future healthcare costs
- Wages lost during your recovery
- Lost earning potential if you experience a disability
- Mental anguish, pain, and suffering
However, it may be difficult to get full compensation from an insurance company after you are bitten by a dog. Insurance agents may wish to speak with you immediately after the attack. They may attempt to get you to admit fault for the attack or to downplay the severity of your injuries.
Having a lawyer to handle all communication with insurance agents after a canine attack might be beneficial to you. A lawyer can give you an estimate of what you should expect as a settlement, and if they cannot reach that amount through negotiations with the insurance company, they might be able to take your case to court.
Other Options to Get Compensation for a Dog Bite
Many dog bite cases are settled with the insurance company representing the dog’s owner. However, this solution may not be possible in all cases. Sometimes, dog owners do not carry insurance. In other cases, insurance companies may work to deny your claim. They may argue that:
- You prompted the attack by acting aggressively
- You were trespassing on the dog owner’s property
- You were not actually bitten and hurt by the dog
A lawyer may be able to investigate your situation to stand up to these claims. In some cases, your lawyer may negotiate with the insurance company when you face these allegations. Your lawyer may also recommend taking your case to court in some cases.
Building a legal case after a dog bite may be difficult. However, a lawyer may be able to help you bring a lawsuit against the owner of the dog that bit you. If your lawyer secures a verdict in your favor, you may be granted payment directly from the dog’s owner, instead of an insurance company.
Consult a Lawyer About Who Pays for a Dog Bite
Who pays for a dog bite depends on each specific case. You may receive compensation from an insurance company if the dog’s owner has an appropriate policy. In other situations, you may receive compensation directly from the dog’s owner. However, if the dog’s owner is not responsible for the attack, you may need to pay for your medical expenses and other losses yourself.
Start getting help securing payment by working with Pintas & Mullins Law Firm. Contact us by calling (800) 794-0444. Get legal help today from a dog bite lawyer in your area.