Insurance Companies and California Dog Bite Attacks

Insurance coverage exists to help people cover unexpected losses. We purchase policies to protect ourselves against losses that can include incidents involving no one else, such as a pipe bursting in your home, or those that are caused by others, such as when you’re involved in a car accident that isn’t your fault. There are also policies that cover your pet in the event they become sick or injured. When it comes to insurance companies and dog bites, victims can face financial losses that have the potential to be quite significant.

Insurance policies do cover dog bite attacks.  However, finding out if the dog owner has coverage, the exemptions to that coverage and then determining if that coverage is going to be adequate can be difficult.  It’s in situations like these where an injured person needs to obtain the help of experienced California dog bite lawyers as soon as possible.  Below you’ll find an overview regarding the involvement of insurance companies with dog bite attacks.  If you need more specific help, contact the Dog Bite Law Group as soon as possible.

Types of Insurance Coverage for Dog Bite Attacks

Generally speaking, but not limited to, there are several types of insurance policies that will usually provide automatic coverage for dog bite injuries.

  1. Homeowners insurance;
  2. Renters insurance;
  3. Commercial policies;
  4. Home Owner Association (HOA) policies;
  5. Excess and umbrella policies;
  6. Medical payment coverage;
  7. Automobile insurance; and
  8. Pet sitters (included)

While the specific policy limits may vary, it’s common that the amount of coverage can be significant enough to pay for at some of the losses incurred by a dog bite attack, without having the dog owner pay out-of-pocket for your damages.

Dealing With an Insurance Company After a Dog Bite Attack

Typically speaking, if a person is injured in a dog bite attack, that injured person will obtain the contact information of the dog owner as well as any insurance information that’s relevant.  In these situations, it’s also common for the dog owner to file an insurance claim with his or her insurance company to cover the damages.  This is typically where things can get complicated for the party that’s injured.  That’s because insurance companies are not going to simply offer a reasonable sum to settle the matter as soon as they learn that there was an incident.  Insurance companies incentive is to pay the least amount of money on a claim, if at all, and make it as difficult as possible.

While every situation is different, dog bite attack claims can proceed as follows:

  • The insurance company makes contact with the injured party.
  • That insurance company will want to review the situation.
  • The insurance company does not make an offer.
  • The insurance company may request copies of medical records and medical bills.
  • The insurance company may request that the injured party provide a statement.
  • The insurance company does not make an offer because they have not received the proper documentation i.e. medical bills, statement, etc.
  • If the injured party doesn’t properly organize their file, get the proper medical treatment, and present real risk of liability to the insurance company, no meaningful offer will be made, if at all.
  • The injured party is left frustrated throwing their hands up and wanting to pull their hair out. Now they have to decide what to do to be treated right and fairly.  And, how to get real value for their dog bite claim. After all, they were the ones attacked!!!

This often comes as a surprise to the people who seek the help of the California dog bite lawyers at the Dog Bite Law Group for several reasons.  However, this should not come as a surprise for several different reasons, including:

  • Insurance companies are for-profit corporations.
  • The more they pay out in settlements and claims, the lower their profit margins become.
  • Insurance companies employ highly-skilled professionals whose job is to protect their employers from liability.
  • Insurance companies, given their resources, also have the ability to retain highly-skilled defense attorneys.

In essence, these situations are not fair fights.  An injured consumer, who is in pain and facing mounting financial losses, is suddenly dealing with a team of insurance professionals and defense attorneys, all of whom are telling that person that his or her claim is not worth much and that their only options are to either accept their offer or face off with them in court.  Thus, a very difficult situation quickly becomes much worse.

How California Dog Bite Lawyers Can Help

All of these reasons are why anyone injured in a California dog bite attack needs to retain an attorney as soon as possible.  Our firm has handled these cases successfully many times, and what has happened more times than not when we’ve gotten involved is what happens when a law firm with a well-earned positive reputation gets involved with any insurance company.

Examples of almost immediate changes that occur include:

  • Your attorney immediately creates leverage and risk to the insurance company.
  • The insurance company stops dealing directly with you, the injured person.
  • You get access to the necessary medical treatment you’ve been asking for and were afraid of the financial costs.
  • The insurance company is forced to take your claim seriously because they know they might get served with a lawsuit.
  • Defense attorneys begin to realize that they may need to prepare for litigation because now they have a real fight for justice on their hands.
  • The insurance company realizes that the cost of defending this situation is going to rise significantly.
  • The insurance company is served with a properly documented and supported demand for settlement.
  • Settlement offers become more reasonable and if not, then a lawsuit is filed.

In the vast majority of situations in which reputable California dog bite attorneys are involved, the matter settles before going to trial.  That’s because, as stated above, insurance companies are for-profit corporations.  Their concern is the bottom line in regards to insurance companies and dog bites.  As soon as it becomes possible there is real risk of a client winning their case at trial and fighting the lawsuit will cost more and more, that company becomes more amenable to settling.

However, even when that happens, an injured party needs to be careful to review all of the terms included in the settlement agreement.  That’s because any oversight in that regard could lead to problems down the road.  An experienced attorney needs to handle this aspect of things, and that attorney needs to remain involved until the settlement is actually paid and the matter is officially closed for both sides.

All It Takes Is a Phone Call to Level the Playing Field – Call Us Today

If you have been harmed in a California dog bite attack, you need to take action as soon as possible to protect your legal rights and options regarding insurance companies and dog bites.  Contact our Orange County Dog Bite Lawyer today to schedule a free initial consultation.