What You Need To Know About Dog Bite Litigation

Posted on: 29 February 2020


If someone else's dog bites you or your child and causes injuries, the dog owner can be held liable for the actions of their dog. You might be able to settle with the owner out of court for the related damages.

Should the dog owner refuse to pay for these injuries or try to offer a sum that's not reasonable for your financial, physical, and mental distress, you can sue the owner for the appropriate financial damages. Here's what you need to know about dog bite litigation. 

Your Settlement Should Encompass all Your Expenses

One mistake that some people make is neglecting to include all their financial costs and personal damages when determining how much they want for a settlement. Unfortunately, there are a lot of expenses associated with a dog bite. Keep the following bite-related expenses in mind:

  • Current and future medical bills associated with treating your injuries
  • Expenses for plastic surgery to restore your appearance
  • The cost of replacing clothes or other personal effects damaged in the incident (like glasses)
  • Lost income due to time taken off work for your recovery
  • Expenses associated with hiring someone to handle tasks you can't complete while you recover (like household help or childcare assistance)
  • Costs of therapy for mental distress from the attack

In addition to these monetary costs, you should also keep the mental effects of the dog bite in mind when deciding to accept a settlement. Many individuals, even if they love animals, suffer lasting mental anguish due to a dog bite. They may no longer be comfortable around dogs, or they might experience anxiety-inducing flashbacks related to the incident. 

Homeowner's Insurance Policies Typically Cover Dog Bites

If the dog owner has homeowner's insurance, the insurance company will pay for expenses associated with a dog bite; this includes the money for your pain and suffering. Most renter's insurance policies also pay for costs related to a dog bite.

Should the amount of the settlement exceed the limits stated by the insurance policy for this type of incident, the dog owner will be personally responsible for the remaining amount. It's possible the dog owner might try to pay the costs related to the incident out-of-pocket to avoid having to report the dog bite to their insurance company.

While this might be realistic for some individuals, others might not have the financial resources to pay a fair amount and may try to offer you a settlement that doesn't address your damages from the accident. Don't compromise your right to a reasonable settlement accept a less than fair amount in an effort to be nice or helpful. If you have been bit by a dog, speak with a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible.