Does Homeowner’s Insurance / Renter’s Insurance Cover Dog Bites?

Every year, it is reported that more than 4.5 million people in the U.S are bitten by dogs. Out of that 4.5 million, more than 800,000 have to receive medical attention after experiencing a dog bite; nearly half of the victims being children. Dog bites and dog attacks can be incredibly traumatizing for those who have to experience them. They can leave long-term physical and emotional damages to the victims. Often those who suffer from dog bites are unsure if whether or not they can receive compensation from their renters or homeowners insurance. We’re here to help you in the details surrounding that process. If you or a loved one has experienced a dog bite or dog attack, you may be eligible to collect significant monetary compensation for your damages. At the top-rated Normandie Law Firm, our qualified attorneys with experience in dog bite cases can help you build your case, file your dog bite claim, and help you get the resources you need to help you make a full recovery. If you have any questions after reading this article, please feel free to contact our top law offices for a free consultation from one of our skilled attorneys with experience handling dog bite claims.

Does Home or Renters Insurance Cover Dog Bite Injuries?
When clients enter our law firm looking for assistance in their dog bite injury case, they often ask our attorneys a series of questions regarding homeowners or renters insurance claims for their damages. Some of these frequently asked questions are listed as follows:

  • Does renters insurance cover dog bites?
  • Does homeowners insurance cover dog bites?

Home and renters insurance have clauses that protect policyholders against liability charges and expenses. If someone gets injured on your property, it is very likely that you will be held responsible for their injuries. For example, if your guest trips down the stairs and breaks their arm and they press charges against you, it will be you who will be in charge of handling the medical bills associated with their fall in your house. But what about dog bites? Dog bites account for over one-third of all insurance liability claims in the U.S. So if you own a dog and it bites one of your guests, your homeowner’s insurance may cover your liability. Liability is not limited to the confines of your home, either. If you are out on a walk with your dog and it bites someone or another dog, your homeowner’s insurance will still be there to offer its coverage. The limit is based on the agreed amount when you first signed the policy.

Renters insurance, like homeowners insurance, covers dog bites as well. You may want to pay special attention to the conditions of your policy when it comes to renters insurance. Unlike, homeowners insurance, renters insurance protection may be confined to the walls of your apartment or the complex. That means if you are taking your dog out for a walk, your insurance won’t cover you for liability. Of course, this can vary from company to company, so call your insurance provider if you are unsure of the limits of your policy.

Because a grand total of one-third of all claims come from dog bites, many insurance companies look to protect themselves against these sorts of claims. One way that insurance companies protect their earnings is by increasing the premium of home insurance policies. Because the risk of an injury on your premise is greater with a dog in your house, you are considered a high-risk customer and so premiums are higher. The second way of protecting themselves is through excluding certain dog breeds from their home insurance contracts.

When filing a suit, it is important to understand the three kinds of law that impose liability on a dog owner. These laws will vary from state to state, so it is equally as important to consult an expert attorney who has experience in dog bite cases to help you understand which laws are enforced in your particular state. The three kinds of dog owner liability laws are as follows:

  • A-dog-bite Statute: The dog owner is found automatically liable for any injury or property damage the dog caused without provocation.
  • The one-bite rule: The dog owner is responsible for an injury caused by the dog if the owner was aware the dog was likely to cause that type of injury. In these cases, the victim must be able to prove that the owner knew the dog was dangerous.
  • Negligence laws: The dog owner is held liable if the injury occurred because the owner was careless or negligent in controlling the dog.

If your dog attacked someone, it is more than likely that your insurance provider will compensate the victim for the damages. However, depending on the insurance plan you have, you could find a full compensation for your damages or none at all. Insurance providers have some exceptions to their coverage rules, and it is in your best interest to consult the rules, regulations, and exceptions to your specific coverage plan. There are also dog breed exceptions that are important to note. While this is not a universal rule, a majority of homeowners and renters insurance providers will not provide compensation for the injuries caused by a dog of one of the following breeds:

  • Akitas
  • Alaskan Malamutes
  • Chow Chows
  • Doberman Pinchers
  • German Shepherds
  • Staffordshire Terriers
  • Great Danes
  • Pit Bulls
  • Presa Canarios
  • Rottweiler’s
  • Siberian Huskies
  • Wolf-hybrids
  • American Bulldogs
  • Beaucerons
  • Keeshonds
  • Mastiffs
  • Belgian Malinois
  • Rhodesian Ridgebacks

As stated prior, there is no guarantee that an insurance provider will refuse coverage for all of these specific dog breeds. Insurance companies tend to vary on what they will and won’t cover, and others cover on a case by case basis. Once again it is important to consult your homeowners or renters insurance representative to understand the details and exceptions of your coverage plan.

In almost all cases of dog bites, however, the dog owner is considered liable for the damages inflicted. The details of what makes the owner liable vary from state to state, however. If you were a victim of a dog bite, and you have to sue the dog owner for the damages through a dog bite lawsuit, it is highly recommended that you seek the proper representation through the employment of a dog bite injury insurance claim lawyer.

Regardless of the details of your specific case, it is in your best interest to seek the representation of an accomplished attorney with expertise in dog bite injury lawsuits to guide you through the process of filing a claim. Having an experienced attorney on your side can mean the difference between filing a successful claim for compensation and having your case dismissed from court entirely.

Dog Bites and Dog Attacks
Dogs have been proven to be one of our closest companions. A multitude of studies has shown that at home dogs decrease stress levels, and increase exercise levels. However, these are still in many ways, vicious animals, and when provoked or mistreated, will revert to these hostile instincts. As well as causing pain, and nerve damage, dog bites can become infected, which can cause an increased risk of illness or even death. There is also the emotional trauma that can be inflicted upon children after experiencing a dog bite. Those most commonly at risk are children and men. It is also important to note that most dog bites occur at home, although a dog bite can occur truly anywhere a dog is likely to be.

A dog’s mouth carries over sixty different kinds of bacteria. While only a handful of these germs can make you sick, it is incredibly useful to be aware of the damages these bacteria can cause. Listed below are some of the diseases that could be contracted through a dog bite:

  • Rabies: This is one of the most serious diseases that can be contracted from a dog bite. Although it is highly unlikely to contract rabies from a dog in the United States, it is a disease that dog owners should be aware of. Rabies, if contracted, is almost always fatal. In most cases, once the victim begins to show symptoms it is already too late as treatment cannot cure rabies at this stage. The most common way that rabies can spread is through the bite and saliva of an infected animal.
  • Capnocytophaga: This is a bacteria that lives inside the mouths of dogs, cats, and even humans. The bacteria don’t make dogs or cats sick, but on the rare occasion that human contracts it from a bite, scratch, or close contact illness can occur. Those with a weaker immune system are more at risk.
  • Pasteurella: This is a type of bacteria that is seen in over 50% of all infected dog bite wounds. The bacteria causes a painful, red infection at the site of the bite, and can cause more severe damages to those with a weakened immune system. Often, the infection is accompanied by swollen glands, swelling in the joints and difficulty moving.
  • MRSA: MRSA is a form of Staph infection that is resistant to certain antibiotics. Dogs can carry the MRSA disease without showing any symptoms. However, the bacteria can cause skin, lung, and urinary tract infections in humans. In those with weakened immune systems, MRSA can spread into the bloodstream or lungs and cause life-threatening infections.
  • Tetanus: This is a toxin that is produced by a type of bacteria called Clostridium tetani. Tetanus can cause paralysis in people and could be a problem in cases with deep bite wounds.

If you or a loved one has been bitten by a dog, it is important that you seek medical attention immediately as there is no telling what kind, of bacteria that dog could have infected you with. Sometimes dog bites can cause truly damaging injuries, that may require further medical treatment. This treatment can be incredibly expensive and can leave victims with a mountain of debt that can feel impossible to overcome. If this is the case, the victim can seek compensation either through a personal injury insurance claim or a lawsuit used to sue the owner of the property.

How Normandie Law Firm Can Help
If you or a loved one has suffered injury as a result of a dog bite, you may be eligible to file a claim for monetary compensation. Clients who file a claim with our law firm can expect to find some if not all of the following damages compensable to you:

  • Past and Future Medical Expenses
  • Loss of Wages
  • Potential Loss of Future Wages
  • Pain and Suffering
  • Emotional Distress (anxiety, depression, PTSD, etc…)
  • Punitive Damages

At Normandie Law Firm, we can guide you through the often arduous process of fighting for proper compensation for your damages. While our experienced lawyers are based out of Los Angeles, we also practice in San Jose, Oakland, San Francisco, Sacramento, Fresno, San Diego, Orange County, Stockton, Bakersfield, and throughout the entire state of California.

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If you contact our law offices today, we can walk you through the complicated process of filing your claim completely free of charge. As a show this commitment to you and your case we offer our clients the benefits of a zero fee guarantee policy. Under our zero fee policy, all clients don’t pay for our services until their case is won. If you feel in need of a second opinion, second opinion case reviews are also free under this policy. Please, feel free to give us a call, and we can guide you down the path of receiving proper compensation for your damages. An expert lawyer experienced in dog bite injury cases will be available to listen to your case.

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