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Who is responsible for the damages after a serious dog bite?

If a dog bit you and you suffered an injury, you know that the experience can be traumatic and scary. You may have medical bills as well as pain and suffering. The injuries may have been serious enough that you missed work or spent time in the hospital.

However, you may be reluctant to file a claim to recover your damages, especially if the owner of the dog was a family member or friend. You may be worried that the cost of covering your losses could leave the dog owner in a precarious financial situation. However, many types of insurance that the dog owner is likely to carry should cover your medical and other needs. If your injury is the result of a dog owner's negligence, you are eligible for a full and fair recovery of your damages.

For dog bites in another person's home

If you were in another person's home or property when the dog bit you, the owner's homeowner's insurance probably covers your injury. The average amount of liability coverage for a homeowner's insurance policy is between $100,000 and $300,000. The insurance may also extend to other places where a bite occurs, like a dog park. Keep in mind that homeowner's insurance will usually cover only the first incident in which an animal injures a person. If the incident occurred in a vehicle, the homeowner's insurance may or may not cover the injury.

For dog bites occurring in a motor vehicle

For incidents occurring in a vehicle, or on a vehicle if the animal is in the back of a truck, a dog owner's liability car insurance will probably cover the bite. Sometimes, both the homeowner's and the auto insurance will cover the dog bite. If this is the case, the insurance companies may dispute the claim and say the other insurance company is responsible. When the two insurance companies settle the dispute, one or the other will pay out for the damages.

The owner is ultimately responsible

If the animal is a repeat offender, the owner may have coverage from an insurer that offers animal insurance. Ultimately, if another person's pet bites you, you are entitled to bring a legal claim to cover your losses. If the incident was due to another's negligence, and no fault of your own, the financial burden of your medical bills and losses will fall to the person responsible. If the responsible party does not pay, you may have to bear the financial burden alone.

For more help

If a dog bites you, and you suffer serious injury as a result, you may wish to explore your legal options. Many personal injury attorneys have experience battling with reluctant insurance companies and can also help you determine who is at fault. Most will also evaluate the claim for free and help start the process of you getting back on your feet after an injury.

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