We love our dogs. For many, they are like another member of the family, who is cared for and loved. Because of the joy they bring to the family, they are so important and special. However, should your dog bite someone else, you become liable for any injury or damages that that the victim may incur. The same would be true if they damage the property of another. Dogs are known to bite or chew up things, and they may attack the pet of another, which will become your responsibility. This is especially true if it is deemed that you have been negligent in caring for your pet. If your dog is not on a leash or fenced in the yard to securely keep the animal contained on your property, you become liable for any damages it may cause, which can be a sizable amount of money depending on the injury or damage it causes.
What Costs Is a Pet Owner Responsible For?
If the dog bites another person or their pet, you have to bear all the medical bills or vet bills that may incur. This means you may have to pay thousands of dollars, depending on the damage your dog has caused. This can include surgeries, physical therapy or other medical related costs.
If your pet has destroyed a neighbor’s property, you can be sure that you will be held responsible for this. This can include something as simple as breaking a fence, destroying a garden, or breaking a window. You should be aware that you may become responsible criminally for the damage your dog causes. Should a person become severely injured by your pet, you can wind up going to jail for your negligence in ensuring that the pet was not a potential danger to your community.
Missed Time at Work
You should also know that the medical costs incurred are not the only thing you can become responsible for, you may also be held responsible for any missed wages that were a result of the attack. You may think that’s frivolous, but an attack by a German shepherd, Rottweiler or Pitbull can be terrifying and there are a large number of juries that would find that some form of punitive damages should be imposed to pay the person for the suffering they have endured and to teach you to be more responsible with your pet.
Does Homeowner Insurance Cover Dog Bites?
While criminal penalties are one thing, if your dog has caused injuries to someone who is seeking restitution for the medical costs and the pain and suffering they have endured, one potential source to assist you in this is your homeowner’s insurance. If you are wondering whether your homeowner’s insurance covers dog bites, the truth is that it most likely does. The vast majority of homeowner’s policies include a number of additional protections that ensure you are able to compensate someone for damages you or your pet may have caused. These policies are created to ensure that things like injuries caused by pets don’t leave you with a financial burden, so the insurance company will pay the cost for you.
You May Still Face Legal Challenges
While your homeowner’s insurance will assist you in paying the damages caused by your dog, you should be aware that the costs you incur may exceed the coverage amount your homeowner’s policy provides. It is often not the medical expenses that become an issue, but the pain and suffering that your dog has created that leave you with a bill that could be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. You may also find that your insurance company is not willing to pay for certain damages or they may be slow in doing so. This often happens because these companies usually don’t want to pay out the money. So they try to drag their feet in the hopes that they won’t have to pay much.
Call our Personal Injury team at (480) 467-4392 to discuss your case today.