Who Pays for Medical Bills After a Dog Bite?

Being bitten by a dog can be tremendously upsetting. Dog bites are generally unexpected: Even a victim who’s been warned against approaching a dog generally thinks they have some kind of special innate bond with animals that will protect them (“Oh, dogs love me) right up until the moment of the bite. Though some bites leave only wounded egos and hurt feelings, others can cause real physical injury and trauma and require significant medical treatment. If this happens to you, you’re going to need to know who’s on the hook for the medical bills. The answer varies depending upon the circumstances.

A serious dog bite can have serious financial implications. It can require surgery, missed work, psychological trauma, disfigurement, and even death. It can also have big legal implications, as the dog owner runs the risk of being found negligent or liable for the bite.

Determining who is responsible for paying medical bills after a dog bite often comes down to a question of whether the dog owner and/or the victim have homeowner’s insurance. In most cases, a homeowner’s policy (and some renter’s insurance policies) will cover liability for injuries caused by an animal, including medical expenses. Notably, some owners of breeds with reputations for aggression are unable to get homeowner’s insurance or coverage for this type of injury.

When the dog’s owner doesn’t have coverage for their animal’s actions, the victim is likely to have to pay for their own medical bills either out of pocket or through their health insurance. This would then leave them with no choice but to seek compensation from the owner, either directly or through the legal process.

Pursuing a dog’s owner for compensation is an extremely difficult task for most people. In many cases, the dog belongs to somebody that the victim knows, and the attack raises a high level of emotions from both sides. This is why it’s important to get help from an experienced legal professional who can represent you and remove the personal element from the equation.

In most cases, a dog owner’s insurance company will settle a claim for compensation for medical bills in a short period, but some situations require an attorney to prepare a complaint on your behalf. If you need guidance or representation to ensure that your medical bills are paid, contact us today.