When most people think of insurance claims and civil litigation over dog-related injuries, they typically think of dog bites and attacks. Certainly, these can cause serious harm – particularly when there’s a large dog and/or a small child involved. However, anyone who’s ever been bitten by a chihuahua who meant business can attest that small dogs can cause deep, painful and scarring bites that should get medical attention.
Dogs can cause other types of injuries – while acting only with the purest of intentions. Often, these occur in a home. Have you ever seen someone’s dog so happy to greet a guest that they jumped up on them and knocked them over? When this happens to someone who’s older and frail, it can cause broken bones or even a brain injury. People often trip over little dogs they don’t expect to be underfoot and are seriously injured.
The at-fault dog owner is often someone the victim knows
Often, it’s not stranger’s dogs or stray dogs that cause injuries. It’s a dog belonging to a relative, friend or neighbor. In many cases, some lack of supervision or control, like failing to leash the dog when they’re on a walk or letting an excitable dog loose around guests, is ultimately responsible for the injury. When off-leash dogs attack leashed ones, and it can be the owner of the leashed dog who suffers serious injuries as they try to break up the fight.
Homeowners’ insurance often covers these injuries
While you may be hesitant to hold someone you know liable for the injury, even if they were responsible, you have every right to get your medical bills and other expenses reimbursed. Most people’s homeowner’s insurance covers injuries caused by their pets.
Unless the policyholder failed to disclose a dog or lied about the dog’s breed, that policy should cover your losses. The insurer will likely just want to make sure that the victim wasn’t teasing, hurting or otherwise intentionally provoking the dog.
If the dog’s owner doesn’t have homeowner’s insurance or any kind of umbrella coverage, you may need to seek compensation directly from them. If you’re dealing with a serious injury and having difficulty collecting the compensation you need to deal with it, it can be wise to get a legal professional in your corner.