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  • Writer's pictureJessalyn Barrett

Dog Bites - Can I Recover for Damages?

The short answer is yes, you can recover damages if someone else’s dog bites or otherwise injures you without provocation and the owner was negligent. The catch? They need to have insurance. What kind of insurance do they need to have? Either homeowners or renter’s insurance. An attorney will be able to investigate and send the proper correspondence to determine whether or not the dog’s owner has insurance.

The Insurance Information Institute has compiled some statistics on dog bites in the United States. They indicate that about 4.5 million dog bites occur each – unfortunately most of these victims are children. Additionally, the average cost per claim in 2021 was listed as just over $49,000.00. The total amount of claims paid out by insurance companies in 2021 amounted to over $800 million. Insurance companies are paying out an extraordinary amount to victims who suffer from bites and attacks from dogs.

For you to be successful in recovering damages against a dog’s owner, keep these three things in mind:

Document everything. Take pictures of your injuries or have someone take pictures for you. These include pictures immediately following the bite, along with pictures as you heal including any scarring.

Call animal control to report the incident. Sometimes this might be a difficult decision, especially if it’s a neighbor's dog or someone you know. However, reporting the dog bite leads to a legal document which is extremely helpful in these cases. It allows you to obtain the information for the owner which is needed to track down insurance and allows for you to obtain vaccine information on the dog. Additionally, filing a dog bite report will protect others in the future. If the dog is involved in multiple attacks, authorities need to know and future victims will want to know about your attack as well.

Obtain the dog owner’s information. If you choose not to report the altercation to animal control – ensure that you obtain the owner’s information including name, address, and phone number. This will help your attorney track down insurance information.

Finally, secure a competent attorney to represent you. At Barrett Law, LLC all consultations are free of charge, contact me at any time.

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