Dog bites can cause serious hardship for the victim and his or her family. Between recovery time and medical expenses – not to mention psychological trauma – families are often left with a lot to cope with after an attack.
If you or your child has been bit by a dog, you may be hesitant to file a claim against the owner for a number of reasons. Maybe the owner is a neighbor and you’re worried about how it will impact your relationship. Or maybe you’re worried that seeking compensation would cause financial hardship for the owner.
No matter why you feel hesitant about pursuing a claim after a dog bite, there are few things you should know before making a final decision.
Dog owners are legally responsible for their pets
Under San Diego law, dog owners are liable for anything their dog does. Owners are responsible for ensuring their dog does not cause harm to others. This includes making sure their dog is up to date on its vaccinations and is leashed when in public. Most dog bites are preventable, so when an owner fails to prevent an incident, it is within your rights to seek recompense.
Most homeowner’s insurance policies cover dog bites
If you are worried that the dog owner won’t be able to afford to pay you compensation for a bite, know that they may not pay anything out of pocket. As long as the claim amount is within their liability limit, the owner won’t pay anything. Last year, the average cost of a dog bite claim in California was just under $50,000, which is well within most homeowner’s insurance liability limits.
You shouldn’t suffer financially because of a dog bite
The final reason you should consider seeking compensation after a dog bite is your own well-being – or the well-being of your child. Stitches, serious surgery, shots and psychological treatment may all be necessary after a dog attack. Securing this treatment, however, can be very expensive. You should not have to pay for it out of your own pocket.
Most people do not file dog bite claims out of spite. Rather, they file them out of need. A successful claim can leave you with the compensation you need to get necessary treatment for yourself or your child without being forced into debt or financial hardship. Reasonable pet owners should understand this.