Were you bitten by a dog and do you have mounting medical bills from it? If so, you may be wondering where you go from here, and who can be held responsible for your injuries. Obviously, the dog himself does not have insurance, so who compensates you? That answer and more will be answered in this blog.
I was just bitten by a dog, what should I do?
Obviously, the first thing you should do is make sure you are ok physically. If you feel like you have life threatening injuries, you should contact medical professionals immediately and seek medical help. If you are not in critical danger, the first thing you are going to want to do is find the owner of the dog. If it appears to be a stray, ask those who are nearby if anyone knows what kind of dog it is and who owns it.
I found the owner, now what do I do?
Once you have identified the owner, you will need to identify whether or not they have any homeowner’s insurance. If you choose to get an attorney involved, the attorney will be able to get this information for you. Having homeowner’s insurance does not always mean that you will be able to make a claim, however. Insurance companies are now almost always including a dog bite exception into the policies themselves which means that if the homeowner’s dog bites someone, the insurance company will not be on the hook for paying out for the damages. This means that just because someone has a homeowner’s insurance policy it doesn’t mean you will automatically be covered, actually it is quite the opposite.
So, what if the person has no homeowner’s insurance, or if the policy has a dog bite exclusion?
Well at that point your only option is to go after the person individually. The problem is that a person will have to have significant assets in order to recover a judgment against them. So even if you sue them and are victorious, you may not actually have the ability to recover on that judgment. This creates a problem. You are left with medical bills that you will be responsible for due to someone else’s negligence. If your bills are small, you might have success taking them to small claims court and suing them for those bills, but if you need extensive treatment and the bills are in the tens of thousands of dollars, you may never be able to be made whole again.
What damages are you entitled to in a dog bite case?
Just as any other personal injury case, you are entitled to recoup money for your physical injuries as well as any pain and suffering that you endured as a result. You could also be reimbursed for any time you may have missed from work because of the dog bite. Your attorney will be able to compile all of this information and send it in to the insurance company if there is an insurance policy in play. Otherwise, you will file a civil lawsuit against the owner of the dog asking for a judgment for the total amount of your medical bills not including pain and suffering.
Do you need an attorney to step in and handle your dog bite case?
A personal injury attorney will be able to step in and pull an insurance policy for the homeowners. They will be able to take a look at that policy and let you know if there is an exclusion for dog bites or not. They will even be able to tell you if the person has any assets which would make going after them individually even worth it. A lot of these are things that someone without an attorney would not be able to access. The attorneys at the Lopez Law Group are able to assist and are standing by ready for your call. We know that being involved in a dog bite can be one of the scariest moments of your life, and we are here to make the process as smooth as possible. We can be reached at 727-933-0015. The sooner you contact an attorney following the bite the better.