You’re probably covered if a dog bite caused an injury, and the owner has personal liability coverage through a homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy. But there’s no guarantee because insurers are excluding coverage for specific breeds.
Dogs can inflict severe physical and psychological wounds. If a dog attacked you or a family member and you want to know your legal rights to compensation, call Satterley & Kelley, PLLC, today at 855-385-9532.
Insurers Paid More Than $1.1 Billion in Dog Bite-Related Claims Last Year
Not only do insurers pay dog bit claims, but they also pay a lot of money. According to State Farm and the Insurance Information Institute:
- Injuries caused by dogs cost homeowner insurers more than $1.136 billion in 2022
- Just State Farm paid more than $210 million for 3,285 dog bite and injury claims last year
- Dog bite claims nationwide declined slightly from 17,981 in 2021 to 17,583 in 2022
Insurance claims can only be made if the owner, or another party responsible for the dog and the bite, has insurance. You can’t make a claim if the dog is a stray or you can’t find the owner.
If the dog’s owner lives in an apartment, they may have renter’s coverage that may pay your claim. If we can show that the landlord’s negligent actions played a role in your bite, we may be able to file a claim with their insurer.
There’s no requirement that a dog owner have insurance for them to be sued for their dog’s attack. But as with all personal injury claims, a potential defendant must have sufficient resources to make starting a lawsuit worthwhile. Most of the time, if a defendant lacks insurance and has few assets, the costs of legal action in money, time, and energy isn’t worth it.
Dog Bites and Insurance
Personal liability and medical payments coverage on the dog owner’s homeowner’s insurance policy may pay you compensation for your injuries, medical bills, and out-of-pocket costs. It should also pay for the insured’s legal defense.
Some insurance carriers don’t cover dog breeds considered potentially dangerous. That includes many breeds, but Pit Bulls, Mastiffs, and Rottweilers are commonly on these lists. Insurance may also protect them but charge the owner a higher premium. Other companies may charge more if the homeowner has a dog, no matter the breed.
If there’s a dog in the home, the owner may also need to fill out an insurance company questionnaire about the dog’s history to determine whether there’ll be coverage and, if so, at what cost.
A dog bite may also be covered if the owner has an umbrella liability coverage, which could cover a wide range of insurance claims.
Potential Insurance Problems
An insurance claim for harm suffered due to a dog may be denied because of mistakes or dishonesty by the owner.
When buying insurance, many homeowners focus on price, not on what a policy covers. A homeowner may purchase coverage knowing their dog’s breed won’t be covered because they don’t think the dog will bite anyone or don’t want to pay more.
A homeowner may also lie when buying insurance and deny owning a dog. They may also forget about an exclusion or the need to tell the carrier they own a dog if months pass after they buy the policy and they buy or adopt a dog.
Don’t let the fact that there might be problems with insurance coverage stop you from seeking the compensation you deserve. We can discuss your injuries with you, how Kentucky law may apply, and address insurance coverage problems if and when they arise.
Have You or a Loved One Been Severely Bitten by a Dog?
Kentucky law, with some restrictions, makes a dog owner strictly liable for the bite it inflicts. Depending on the circumstances, if someone else, like a pet sitter or walker, acted negligently and contributed to the problem, they may also face liability.
If a dog injures you or a family member, call our office in Louisville toll-free at 855-385-9532 to learn more about your rights. You may also schedule your free initial consultation by completing our contact form.