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If you are bitten by a dog, who pays the damages?

California has the highest estimated number of dog bites, and the highest costs associated with them. With 1,684 claims made alone and the average cost per claim close to $45,000, the total cost for dog bite injuries in the state is close to $8 million. When someone is bitten by a dog, who pays to cover medical treatments and any other costs associated to the incident?

Per the American Pet Products Association, 77.8 million dogs are pets in homes in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that approximately 4.5 million people are bitten every year by dogs. Of those that are bitten, 885,000 of them require some type of medical treatment for their injuries, and half of them are children.

Does homeowner's insurance cover dog bites?

Homeowner's insurance will cover liability costs that come from dog bites, or those caused by other pets in the house, if the incident occurs on the property of the owner. Average coverage for dog bites is between $100,000 and $300,000. If the animal causes an injury a second or third time, the homeowner's insurance is less likely to cover the costs. Some insurance companies will not cover certain breeds like Rottweilers and pit bulls. If the incident does not occur on the homeowner's property, the amount of coverage may be reduced.

In some situations, when a dog bite occurs in or on a vehicle, the costs may be covered by the owner's car insurance, although there is likely to be a dispute between the two insurance companies regarding who is responsible for the costs. This disagreement falls between the insurance companies and there is no responsibility on the injured to prove anything.

What about animal insurance?

Some pet owners will purchase animal insurance for their pets. Like homeowner's insurance, many animal insurance companies will refuse to cover any incident after the first one. If the owner has a pet that continues to attack or bite, they may have to search for coverage from a company that offers specialized animal coverage.

Prevention is the best treatment

With responsible pet ownership, dog bites and attacks should be rare. While dogs may always have an aggressive nature, pet owners can use responsible practices and keep dogs on a leash or locked up when they have visitors.

If you have been involved in a dog attack and you are concerned about who is going to cover your medical bills and treatment, you may benefit from speaking to an attorney immediately.

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