Here are five things you may not have know about a dog bite claims.
1. If you own a dog and it bites someone you are responsible for the resulting injuries. Dog bite claims are based on the legal theory of strict liability. The injured person does not have to prove that the dog owner was negligent. The injured person simply proves who owns the dog and the owner is held strictly liabile for any actions of the dog, including dog bites.
2. More than likely, if your dog bites someone it is covered under your homeowner’s policy. You should make sure that you disclose the fact that you own a dog to your homeowner’s insurance carrier or you risk a claim not being covered.
3. If your dog bites someone while not on your property, say at a park, your homeowner’s policy will still cover this incident. I recently handled a claim where someone brought their Rotweiller to a kids birthday party at a neighbor’s house and the dog attacked one of the children. This claim was covered by the dog owners homeowner’s insurance policy.
4. Most liability insurance companies are not interested in settling a dog bite claim, where there are scars, for 8 months to a year after the incident. This gives the insurance company and the victim an idea of how well any scarring will heal and whether plastic surgery will be needed. This in turn will help dicatate the value of the claim.
5. The amount of any settlement or award depends on several issues, including the amount of medical bills, lost wages, pain and sufferring. The most important factor, however, is scarring. How big is the scar? How long is the scar? Is the scar discolored? Is it puckered? Where is the scar? How old is the victim? A serious scar on a child’s face is more serious than a scar on a grown man’s ankle.
Over the last 21 years, we have represented hundreds of dog bite victims. We know what your claim is worth and we will fight to get you fairly and reasonablly compensated. Please pass this article along to anyone you know who may benefit from learning about a dog bite claim.