What Is Dog Bite Liability Insurance?
Each day, more than 1,000 people are attacked by dogs in the United States, resulting in more than 850,000 dog bite victims seeking medical care for their injuries. In most cases, a homeowner’s insurance policy provides dog bite liability insurance coverage. These policies cover an animal owner’s liability, up to the policy limits, which typically range between $100,000 and $300,000. However, any damages above the policy limit are the responsibility of the animal’s owner. Dog bite liability insurance is an additional insurance policy covering costs related to dog bites and animal attacks. According to a recent report from the Insurance Information Institute, insurance companies paid out more than $854 million in 2020 related to dog bite claims. At the Chicago dog bite law firm of Briskman Briskman & Greenberg, we proudly represent individuals who were attacked by vicious dogs, helping them secure the monetary compensation they need to begin the process of moving on with their lives.
Dog Bite Liability Insurance Statistics
With more than 85 million dogs in the United States, dog bites are more common than most people realize. There were nearly 17,000 dog bite claims filed against animal owners in 2020. While the number of dog bite attacks fell by about 4.6 percent between 2019 and 2020, the average settlement amount in these cases increased by over 7 percent to $50,245.
Illinois ranks seventh out of all states in the nation for the total number of dog bite attacks. According to the most recent data, there were 732 dog bite claims in Illinois. These claims settled for more than $35 million in total or an average of $48,433 per claim.
What Does Dog Bite Liability Insurance Cover?
When a homeowner purchases an insurance policy, they make an agreement with the insurance company. Under the terms of the agreement, the homeowner pays a monthly fee, called a premium, in exchange for the insurance company’s agreement to pay for any covered losses. Dog bites are generally covered under most homeowners’ insurance policies. Not only that, but this coverage typically applies regardless of where an attack occurs.
However, some insurance companies exclude “dangerous” breeds of dogs from coverage. For example, some of the breeds that are commonly excluded from coverage include:
• Alaskan Malamutes
• American Staffordshire Terriers
• Chow Chows
• Doberman Pinschers
• German Shepherds
• Great Danes
• Perro de Presa Canarios
• Pit Bulls
• Siberian Huskies
When an animal not included under a homeowner’s insurance policy attacks another person, the insurance company will not cover the expenses. While the availability of insurance coverage has nothing to do with a pet owner’s liability, the absence of insurance coverage can make it much more difficult to collect compensation after a Chicago dog bite. This is because the victim will need to pursue a claim against the homeowner, who may or may not have sufficient assets to compensate a dog bite victim for their injuries fully.
Dog bite liability insurance is a separate insurance policy that pet owners can purchase to cover any personal injury damages caused by their pets.
Recovering Compensation After a Dog Bite
If you have been seriously hurt after being attacked by a dog, you have a few different ways you can pursue a compensation claim. If the pet owner has a homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy, you will typically file a claim under this policy. However, if the animal is excluded under the homeowner’s or renter’s policy, you may need to file a claim with the insurance company that carries the owner’s dog bite liability coverage if they have it.
If a pet owner does not have any insurance coverage, you may still have a few options. First, you could sue them in their individual capacity. However, if they do not have enough assets to compensate you for your injuries fairly, you may end up without any way to collect the judgment. Another alternative is to name the pet owner’s landlord. In some cases, a landlord can be liable for a dog bite victim’s injury if they knew their tenant had a dangerous dog but did nothing to prevent an attack.
Dog bite cases may seem straightforward in principle; however, they can often become quite complicated once insurance companies get involved. If you have been the victim of a Chicago dog attack, reach out to a dedicated personal injury lawyer for assistance.
Contact the Chicago Dog Bite Lawyers at Briskman Briskman & Greenberg
If you, your child, or another family member recently suffered serious injuries stemming from a dog bite or attack, reach out to the Chicago dog bite lawyers at Briskman Briskman & Greenberg to schedule a free consultation. Since 1987, we have been helping injury victims seek meaningful compensation that allows them to move on with their lives after suffering serious injuries. And, as a part of the Briskman Guarantee, we will never charge you for our legal representation unless and until we can help you recover compensation for your injuries. In most cases, we will even advance all the litigation costs, meaning you do not need to pay anything upfront to bring your case. To learn more and schedule a free consultation with one of our Chicago dog bite lawyers, call us at 877-595-4878. You can also reach us through our online contact form.