This usually means one of two things:
- The dog’s owner has insurance (usually homeowners or renters insurance), or
- The dog’s owner has money and assets that can be used to compensate you.
The best case scenario is that the dogs’ owner has homeowners or renters insurance. While not all renter’s insurance covers dog bite injuries, many renter’s policies do.
So, how do you find out if the dog’s owner has insurance? There are three general things you can do to find out:
3 ways to determine if the dog owner is insured
- File a police report
- Ask the dog’s owner
File a Police Report
If you’re bitten by a dog (or any animal), you should call the police, and animal control to make a report. You should also ask them to investigate the incident. The police can collect information about the dog, it’s owner, and can often determine whether or not the owner has homeowners or renters insurance. Sometimes people don’t want to file a police report because they are afraid the dog will be put down (but usually this is not the case, especially if there have been no prior incidents). Regardless, failing to file a report with the police or animal control is ALWAYS a mistake. You will need a police, or Animal Contol Services report to prove your claim to the insurance company, even if the owner acknowledges his dog bit you – the insurance company will want some type of report.
Ask the Dog’s Owner for Insurance Information
Of course, you can also simply ask the dogs owner for their homeowners or renter’s insurance information. However, in many cases the owner will either say they don’t have insurance, or say that it doesn’t cover dog bites, or tell you they will get you the info (only to disappear). While it’s always good to ask, you can’t always rely on the information the homeowner gives you. If they cooperate with you, great. If not, a good attorney can help you find out whether or not they have insurance or enough assets to compensate you for your injuries.
In many cases, dog owners are unaware that their insurance covers dog bites, and they may mistakenly tell you that their insurance won’t cover it, and offer to just pay your hospital bill. In this event, you should get their insurance information anyways, just to be on the safe side. Many time dog owners don’t realize how expensive a hospital bill can be, especially if you have to get a series of shots after you’ve been bitten. It’s always better to get the insurance information and check to see what’s covered.
If you haven’t been able to get any information from the homeowner, or a police report, further investigation will be required. As injury attorneys we often are tasked with investigating (or having our private investigators investigate) whether or not a dog’s owner has insurance or assets sufficient to help a dog bite victim.
Hire an Attorney
If you’ve been bitten by a dog, and required medical treatment, you’ll almost always need an attorney if you want to be fairly compensated for your injuries. Compensation can include lost wages, payment of your medical expenses, and money damages for scarring, disfigurement, and pain and suffering.
Because insurance companies RARELY compensate dog bite victims who don’t have an attorney, it’s almost always in your best interest to have an experienced attorney on your side. Without a good attorney in your corner, the insurance company will find a dozen reasons not to compensate you.
If you are unable to gather the insurance policy information or the dog owner claims they are not insured, you will need to contact an attorney and file a lawsuit. You need an experienced lawyer who is dedicated to holding dog owners accountable and will do everything they can to get you the maximum value for your claim.
Our San Antonio dog bite attorneys can help make arrangements for your medical care, even if you don’t have insurance. If you can’t make it to our office for a free case evaluation, we can come to you.
Give us a call right now at (210) 910-4357 to talk to a dog bite attorney about your case. We offer a free 5-Point Case Analysis for FREE, with no obligation whatsoever. Call us now so that you can protect your claim.