Getting bitten by an animal can be a traumatizing experience that leaves both emotional and physical scars. Whether you’re the owner of the dog or the victim of the bite, it’s important to understand how insurance coverage works regarding animal attacks.
So, does renter’s insurance cover dog bites? Yes. However, there are a few things to keep in mind when it comes to insurance claims for dog bites:
- The owner is liable for the bite if it occurred in a place the victim was legally allowed to be
- Both homeowner and renter’s insurance can potentially cover dog bite injuries.
- Additional damages can be received, such as missed time at work and emotional trauma
- Speaking with a personal injury attorney will earn you the most favorable result
Who is Liable for Dog Bites?
In Arizona, the person who is in charge of the pet in question is strictly liable if the dog bit the person when they were in a place that they are legally allowed to be (not trespassing). While you, as the owner, are almost always responsible for damages from a dog bite, a couple exceptions to this rule may exist. If the victim was accessing your property unlawfully by trespassing, you may not be liable. Another exception to being personally responsible is proving that the bite victim provoked your dog.
What counts as provocation in dog bite cases? While poking or teasing a dog may be what you first think of when considering this, there are other unintentional behaviors that may qualify. If your dog bit the victim after they accidentally stepped on the animal, you may be able to claim that they provoked the dog, even though it wasn’t on purpose. To prove that your dog was provoked, you’ll have to show that something happened that made them bite the person.
Other Potentially Responsible Parties
In some cases, an additional person may be liable for a dog bite event. If you hire someone to walk your dog and the animal bites someone while they’re out on a walk, both you as the owner and the dog walker might be responsible. If a landlord is aware (or should be aware) of a dog’s presence on a property and knows that the animal is potentially dangerous, they might also be responsible if the pet bites someone.
Dog Bite Damages
After receiving a dog bite, you may go through both financial and non-financial difficulties. The handler or owner of the dog will be responsible for paying you damages, which might include:
- Lost wages from missing work
- Pain and suffering
- Medical services
- Future medical care
The severity of injuries from a dog bite are hard to discern immediately after the event occurs. While a bite may seem insignificant, it could still lead to nerve damage or a more serious infection later on. In severe cases, the injury could require surgery or extensive treatment of some kind.
If you or a loved one receives a dog bite, the first thing you should do is get it checked by a doctor. Even if it doesn’t appear to be that serious, it’s better to be safe than sorry with this. Your next concern may be how you’ll pay for the expenses from the injury you received. Ideally, the person responsible for the dog will have insurance coverage that takes care of part of your expenses.
Insurance Coverage for Dog Bites
As a dog owner, one of your concerns should be insurance coverage regarding the pet. Renter’s and homeowner’s insurance policies usually include dog bite liability for the purchased coverage amount. For renter’s, this is usually around $100,000 liability and for homeowner’s, $300,000. If you, as the dog owner, have insurance coverage and the policy doesn’t cover all the damages, you’ll be liable for paying the rest.
If you’re renting a place, renter’s insurance will protect you against liability, loss, and theft in regards to your residence. The coverage will apply to your personal property and can help replace destroyed, damaged, or stolen items. Does renter’s insurance cover dog bites? This type of insurance will protect you if someone is injured within your apartment, which includes an animal attack.
Dog bite incidents are usually covered in your insurance policy’s personal liability section. Don’t assume that renting a place automatically covers you, as most landlords won’t provide coverage for dog bites.
If your pet injured someone by biting them, and the victim is seeking to recover damages for what they’ve endured, your homeowner’s insurance policy will probably help you pay for it. Most of these policies include additional protections that help you compensate for damages caused by you or your dog. If you own a home, ask your insurance company about what their standard policy covers regarding pets.
Does Dog Breed Matter?
In some states, insurers can refuse to provide coverage for specific dog breeds, such as Rottweilers or Pit Bulls. Fortunately, Arizona insurance providers don’t exclude coverage based on your dog’s breed. However, your dog might not be covered under your policy if they’ve bitten someone in the past. You might have to pay a higher premium (as either a renter or homeowner) to cover your pet if they would have otherwise been excluded from coverage.
Working with an Attorney for a Dog Bite Case in Arizona
A significant number of claims against renter’s or homeowner’s policies are about dog bite injuries. If you’ve been the victim of a bite, you may be incurring large medical bills as a result of the injury. The insurance company might offer you a settlement, which is tempting to take since it will ease your financial burden.
However, if you go with their initial offer, you will have to sign a document that waives your ability to get more compensation later. Even if you need extensive treatment in the future for the original wound, you won’t be able to get more money from the insurance company.
Your best bet is to hold off on talking with a claims adjustor unless you’ve already spoken with a personal injury attorney. They will help you determine the value of your dog bite case and whether or not the insurer’s settlement offer is fair.
Call Personal Injury Attorney Jared Everton at (480) 467-4392 to discuss your case today.
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