The attorneys at Seattle-based Davis Law Group, P.S., know that medical bills can rack up quickly after a dog bite incident. In fact, serious dog bites can cause serious nerve damage, infection and other ailments that could put treatment into the tens of thousands of dollars.
Under most circumstances, the dog owner is ultimately responsible for damages incurred from dog bite injuries. Dog bite victims are often left wondering, “How am I going to pay my medical bills?” It’s a valid question, and one worth answering.
Below are the most common ways dog bite victims have their medical bills paid for.
Dog Owner’s Homeowner’s Insurance
In most instances, a dog owner’s homeowner’s insurance will cover the medical bills arising from a dog bite on their property. Homeowner’s insurance also usually covers bites inflicted by the policyholder’s dog, regardless whether the insurance company accepts liability for the bite.
One problem: homeowner’s insurance policy limits may not be enough to cover all the costs of medical bills. In this case, other avenues of compensation must be explored. Most homeowner’s policies provide a minimum of $100,000 worth of liability, while the upper end has limits of $300,000 to $500,000.
In the cases that a homeowner’s insurance policy doesn’t cover bites that occur in a vehicle, a dog owner’s auto insurance might. If a victim was bit by a dog that was in the back of a truck or with its head out the window, it’s possible that both homeowner’s insurance and auto insurance is responsible. This is a matter for the insurance companies to resolve themselves.
If a dog is a “repeat offender” – meaning it has bit someone before – many insurance companies will refuse to insure the dog. That opens the door for specialty insurance companies that insure dogs and provide coverage for pet owners.
Victim’s Health Insurance
Instead of dipping into personal savings or borrowing money, it’s best to just use health insurance first when a dog bite occurs. If an injury claim is filed afterwards against the dog owner, a portion of that settlement will go to the medical facility as reimbursement.
If the dog bite victim doesn’t have health insurance, it’s best to consult with an attorney. It’s likely the attorney will help you put a lien on your medical bills, delaying payment until after the case is settled. This also gives the victim or the victim’s attorney time to negotiate the medical payments down, saving the client money.
Legal Options After A Dog Bite
If you've been bitten by a dog or other domestic animal in Washington State, you may want to explore your legal options -- especially if you sustained serious injuries. The experienced personal injury attorneys at Davis Law Group will be able to help you determine who is at fault. Get help today by having an injury attorney provide an initial evaluation of your claim.
Call Davis Law Group at (206) 727-4000, fill out the form on this page or use the chat feature below for a free case evaluation.