Dog Bites

Dog bites are quite common, whether the dog was provoked or not, and is a very unfortunate incident. There are some aspects of dog bites, however, that dog owners who are also home owners should understand in case their dog turns on someone. If you have a dog and own your home, then you may have some questions.

First, you may be wondering when you are and when you aren't liable for a dog bite. This is because there are such issues as trespassers and individuals who enter your property with malicious intent. Then there is the innocent individual entering the property who is bit by the dog.

The good news is that most dog bite injuries are covered by homeowner's insurance and, when a dog bite occurs, the insurance company is required to investigate it. They must then deal with the victim in good faith. This is the one method the insurance company has to deal with it.

When You're Liable

It is important that you know when you're liable for a dog bite. The perfect example is this: If a salesman comes to your door and your dog bites the salesman, provoked or not, a claim can be made against you. You may bring this to your homeowner's insurance's attention so that they can investigate the situation. By investigating the situation, they ensure the dog bite claim is legitimate.

If it is, then your insurance company will pay out a settlement to the bitten individual for their medical costs and other damages. You can expect that your premium may go up in order to offset the settlement amount. The main factor is that you don't have to pay the costs out of your pocket.

But whether or not your homeowner's insurance will pay depends on a number of factors. For instance, your community may have leash laws. You must be in compliance with those laws. Your dog must also not be a restricted dog breed. Some communities do not allow breeds such as Pitt Bulls to be contained within their city limits. If you have a forbidden breed, then you may not be covered.

If you are found liable and your liability insurance company pays a settlement, the settlement will cover such things as medical expenses, pain and suffering, wage loss, psychological counseling if it is needed, and any reconstructive surgery costs.

When You're Not Liable

There are instances in which you may not be held liable. For example, an individual who may be trespassing on your property may not be able to sue you. This is especially true if you have signs posted that tell individuals not to trespass. However, individuals should not be trespassing on the property of another without permission anyway.

Also, the dog bite must happen on your property for it to be covered under your insurance. However, it must be proven by the bitten individual that it was, in fact, your dog. Although rare, you don't want someone to be bitten by the dog next door and then say it was your dog. First, this can result in your dog being taken away and, second, you would be held liable.

If the bite occurs off of your property and there are no witnesses to the bite, it may be difficult to prove it was your dog. But you would then have to deal with animal control if your dog is loose and shouldn't be. It's possible this could not work in your favor.

So if you have a dog, take precautions. If dog bites occur anyway, you do have protection. Just make sure you have the protection you need in place.

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