Personal Injury Lawyers Serving Washington, DC
You are standing at your gate with a bag of groceries in one hand, opening it with your other. Killer, your yappy, miniature French Poodle neighbor, comes trotting up just as Cutie Pie, your French Bulldog sticks her nose under the gate to greet you. Killer starts yipping and yapping, Cuite Pie is snarling and growling, and the next thing you know, Killer has bit your ankle, blood is everywhere and Killer’s owner is nowhere to be found. You need to go to the emergency room but who is going to pay for your injuries?
If a dog hurts someone or damages property, the dog’s owner is ultimately liable for the bill. Unfortunately, not all dog owners have insurance that will cover injuries or damages that are caused by their pet/s. Homeowner’s, automobile, and animal insurance all have provisions for situations that involve a dog injuring a person or causing damage to property. Most homeowner’s insurance will cover liability that is the result of dog bites and injuries caused by other common household pets that occur on the homeowner’s property. Often, car insurance will cover an animal bite that occurred in a car or on the back of a truck with an open bed. There are specialty insurance companies that provide insurance to pet owners on behalf of their pets. Almost all of the aforementioned insurances have “repeat offender” clauses that stipulate that only the first incident in which an animal causes injury will be covered. If you are injured by someone’s pet, be sure to find out if they have insurance that can help to cover your medical bills.
If an animal owner whose pet bit you does not have insurance that covers animal-bites, you are still entitled to bring a legal claim against the owner to recover your damages. Some states have strict dog bite statutes, some are less strict, and some have no dog bite statutes at all. If you were to go to court in a state that has a strict dog bite statute, it will be relatively easy to assess whether the pet owner has violated the statute and whether s/he will be found liable. If the state has a more relaxed dog bite statute or none at all, it will be up to the plaintiff/victim to convince a jury that the owner was being negligent. For example, a plaintiff might need prove that the owner knew the dog had a tendency to bite or that they had the dog off-leash in an area that mandates dogs be kept on leashes. If you win your case, the animal owner will be responsible for paying your medical bills and other costs related to the injury.
Whether it is through an insurance company or in a court of law, if you are a victim of a dog bite or dog related injury, you are entitled to compensation. If you are in an unfortunate situation where you are bit by a dog, be sure that you understand the laws that are in place to protect you- and remember that no matter what, it is your right to seek compensation for your injuries.