There is no argument that Americans love their pets, and this is especially true for dogs. In fact, there has been a lot of growth in recent years in industries that cater to pets and pet owners. One industry group projects that pet owners in the U.S. will spend up to $60.59 billion on their pets in 2015. However, the rise in pampered pets has also led to a rise in another area of law, specifically involving dog bites and attacks. According to a recent review, almost one third of homeowners’ liability claims in the United States can be attributed to dog bite claims. Being bitten by someone else’s pet can lead to serious injury and even death, and it is important to know your rights if you or someone you love has been bitten.
Homeowner’s Insurance Coverage
Most people who own their own home have insurance that will provide them with coverage in the event that someone is injured on their property. People expect that such coverage extends to slip and fall accidents, open hazards and damage caused by family members. What often slips under the radar is the fact that a person may also be liable for damage caused to others by their pets, and that these damages are typically covered under a homeowner’s insurance policies.
How to Recover
Unfortunately for victims of dog bites, their injuries tend to occur very quickly and involve personal relationships such as neighbors, friends and family members. No pet owner wants to believe that their beloved dog is capable of causing serious harm to someone, so these types of injuries can be downplayed or quickly covered up by a fast offer of settlement. It may take the form of the dog’s owner offering to pay for a medical bill out of the kindness of their heart, but in reality it is often far too little to cover the actual damages caused by the dog’s aggressiveness. It may take facing legal action for the homeowner to realize that they should submit a claim to their insurer in order to obtain sufficient money to provide complete relief to the dog bite victim.
When an animal bites someone, it is often more dangerous than other wounds made by man-made objects like knives. This is because an animal’s teeth are designed to tear and rip, similarly to human teeth, and unlike metal blades or other man-made objects, those teeth are covered in the same bacteria that grow and live inside the animal’s mouth. When a dog bites, those teeth can act as a direct conduit, transferring the dog’s mouth bacteria directly into the person’s body via the wound. Among other possible damage (i.e. rabies), this risk of infection is one reason that an injured person may want to seek treatment and be on their way to recovery before accepting any offers of settlement in a dog bite case. A bite that appears to be superficial at first has the potential to turn into a long-lasting and complicated infection if not treated properly.
If you or someone you know has been bitten or attacked by a dog, call the Law Offices of Robert T. Edens, P.C. in Buffalo Grove today. We can discuss your situation and help you assess the full spectrum of damages that you are entitled to recover.