Dog-related injury claims and the payout amounts are both increasing. The number of claims could be related to the fact that people often live very close together in apartments, condos and even in single-family home neighborhoods. The payout amount is at least in part a reflection of the soaring cost of medical care in this country.
When people hear about dog-related liability claims, they generally think of dog bites and attacks. Indeed, these can be extremely serious – particularly if it’s a large powerful dog or the person bitten is a small child.
However, they also include other injuries caused by dogs. For example, someone’s dog might break away from its owner (or not be on a leash at all) while on a walk to chase after a bicyclist and cause them to crash. They might rush an elderly guest and cause them to fall and suffer broken bones. Dog owners should have coverage for pet-related injuries in their homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy.
If someone’s dog or other pet has caused you or a loved one to suffer an injury that requires medical treatment, you have the same right to file a claim with their insurer as if their pet had bitten you without any provocation on your part (like teasing, taunting or threatening).
Not everyone has the appropriate insurance coverage
If they don’t have insurance that covers their animal, then you can file a civil lawsuit to recoup your expenses, such as medical bills and other damages. Some people, unfortunately, don’t notify their insurer that they have a dog or they misrepresent the breed of the dog to the insurance company. It’s possible in such cases that an insurer may not have an obligation to pay a claim for an injury caused by the animal.
Before you settle a claim, it’s wise to seek legal guidance to help ensure that you’re receiving the justice and compensation to which you’re entitled.