Typically, homeowners insurance or renters insurance will cover your dog bite injury claim in Texas. So, if an aggressive dog bit you or a loved one, you could file a claim and negotiate a settlement with the at-fault party’s insurer.
You Have Options if the Liable Insurance Policy Has Limits
Although homeowners insurance policies vary, most companies have liability limits of $100,000 to $300,000. The insurance covers medical expenses and associated damages. If your claim exceeds this amount, the dog’s owner may have to cover the rest of your losses out of pocket.
Some insurance companies will not insure homeowners who own certain dog breeds, such as pitbulls and Akitas. Other insurance companies consider claims on a case-by-case basis.
So, your case value in an insurance settlement is determined by the homeowners insurance policy and the coverage the provider offers.
You Can File a Dog Bite Claim With a Renters Insurance Policy
Renters insurance may also cover injuries you or a loved one suffered from a dog bite. Like homeowners insurance, insurers may exclude certain dog breeds from coverage regardless of whether the dog is aggressive.
Most renters’ insurance companies provide coverage for dog bites up to $100,000. If a renter has an umbrella policy, however, a provider may increase coverage. If the renters insurance policy does not cover all of your expenses, the at-fault party may have to cover the rest of your claim.
Other Types of Insurance May Cover Dog Bite Injuries
Sometimes, other types of insurance coverage provide damages for dog bite injury claims. If homeowners or renters insurance does not cover your injuries or other damages, consider the following:
Some Auto Insurance Policies Offer Dog Bite Protection Coverage
Auto insurance providers may cover dog bite injuries in certain circumstances.
The at-fault party’s auto insurance company might cover a dog bite injury if the incident occurred inside the vehicle or on the vehicle (like a truck’s bed).
The At-Fault Party Could Have Animal Insurance
Some companies specialize in animal insurance. These companies cover animals who are “repeat offenders.” This means that the dog has attacked people in the past and may no longer have protection from a homeowners insurance provider.
The At-Fault Party Could Have Liability Coverage
In some instances, the dog owner may have an individual liability insurance policy that covers your injuries or other damages from the accident.
You Could Possibly Secure Financial Recovery From the Property’s Landlord
The property’s landlord could be partly or wholly liable for the accident. The landlord might have been aware of a potentially dangerous dog on their premises—yet did nothing to address the issue in time. Your options depend on the landlord’s insurance coverage.
If filing a claim isn’t possible, you could sue the landlord directly in civil court. You generally have two years from the date of your dog bite to file, per Texas law.
People Who Are Covered Under Dog Bite Insurance
Insurance policies outline who is covered in a dog bite accident. Insurers may cover your injuries if you fall within the following categories:
- The primary insured
- Relatives who are residents
- Non-relatives who are residents, under 21, or under the care of the homeowner or renter
- Custodians, such as a sitter, walker, groomer, or veterinarian
- A guest or visitor welcomed or allowed to be on the property
- Any person not on the property that the dog attacks
Insurance policies vary from one to the next. The above list is just a general explanation of who can receive an award or file a claim.
Keep These Things in Mind When Filing Your Claim
An insurance adjuster may contact you after the dog bite accident. You are not required to talk to the insurance company or provide any information until all parties have investigated the accident.
Before you talk to the insurance company, make sure you:
Document Your Medical Expenses
Following the dog bite, you should visit a healthcare provider and seek treatment. Keep all bills and receipts for treatment you receive, including:
- Physical therapy
- Follow-up doctor visits
Insurance companies require documentation to validate a claim.
File Your Claim As Soon as Possible
Each insurance company sets deadlines for filing claims. You could have anywhere from a few weeks to a few months to notify the liable insurer of the incident. If you wait too long to file your claim, the insurer could dismiss it.
The state’s statute of limitations does not apply to insurance claims; it only applies to lawsuits.
Avoid Admitting Fault for the Accident
Texas operates on a proportionate responsibility system, as explained by Texas law. This means you can still pursue recovery even if you contributed to the incident.
However, you should still avoid admitting fault for the dog bite – even if you believe your own actions contributed to your injuries. You don’t want to give the insurer any reason to deny or contest your claim.
Also, avoid discussing the matter with the at-fault party, as they may also look for reasons to dispute your allegations.
Think Twice Before Accepting a Settlement Offer
The insurance company’s settlement offer should reflect your case, including:
- Your injuries
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
- Non-economic damages
The insurer may offer a settlement that does not account for these hardships. If not, you have every right to negotiate a better offer or refuse an inadequate one.
Consider Hiring Our Dog Bite Injury Team in Texas
Your Texas dog bite attorney can establish liability for the accident, correspond with insurance companies, manage your case, and file a claim or lawsuit on your behalf. They can also determine whose insurance policy you should file your dog bite injury claim with.
Reach Out to Our Injury Firm in Texas for a Free Case Evaluation
D.Miller & Associates, PLLC™ offers legal assistance for victims of dog bite accidents in Texas. Our dog bite lawyers can file a claim against the liable policy and seek recovery for your injuries, expenses, and other damages.
To find out how we can help with your dog bite case, call us at (713) 850-8600.
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