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How Dog Bites Get Expensive
When a dog bites someone, she is entitled to reimbursement for medical expenses as well as lost income if treatment and/or recovery prevents her from working. If the injury is minor, then the medical expenses and the time away from work will likewise be minor.
However, if the bite causes complications from infection, or causes a serious injury, or aggravates a pre-existing condition, then the medical bills will escalate. Medical complications and serious injury usually have a greater impact on the victim’s ability to work, which means that lost income also escalates.
When the impact of a dog bite becomes this serious, the victim will often hire a lawyer. The lawyer will try to get what the victim is legally entitled to. This may include pain and suffering. Pain and suffering are highly subjective and varies among people who suffer from the same type of injury. For example, a child will typically suffer more pain and suffering than an adult male. Often, a monetary value for pain and suffering is computed by multiplying the medical expenses by a factor between two and four.
The liability consequences of a dog bite can be small or quite large. It depends on the bite location and any resulting complications as was previously described. The calf muscle and the Achilles tendon aren’t physically far apart, yet the effects on a person’s mobility can be hugely different depending on which was injured. The same is true of a bite puncture above the eyebrow versus an eye puncture. Lost income also depends on the bite location as well as the person’s occupation. For example, a serious hand injury has a greater impact on a surgeon than a salesperson.
Whether your home insurance covers these damages depends on your dog’s bite history. Many insurance policies have a one bite rule. That is, they will pay for one bite and either cancel your policy or exclude further coverage of the dog. If your dog belongs to an aggressive breed, you may not even benefit from the one bite rule.
If you’ve collected from your home insurance for a previous bite, or your dog is the “wrong breed,” you may lack animal liability coverage. Review your policy, and if you find coverage gaps, contact us to learn how we can help you.