When You Have Been Bitten by a Dog
Statistics show that dog bite attacks make up over one-third of homeowners insurance claims filed every year. In a claim for injuries from a dog bite, it is the injured party’s responsibility to prove their case. First, the victim has to identify the attacking dog and the dog’s owner or responsible party. Most cities and counties require dogs to have identification tags with the owner’s contact information along with vaccination information for Rabies.
Most dog bite claims are settled by insurance companies before having to go to court. Some states have laws making the owner or keeper of a dog liable for the injuries caused by that dog, this is often referred to as strict liability. This means the owner is liable for any injures caused by their dog, regardless of whether or not the owner knew the dog was dangerous. New Hampshire is a strict liability state. It is also important to find out if the animal has a history of aggression. You should check with the town or city to see if there is any record of the dog biting or attacking in the past.
Contributory negligence is also something to consider when contemplating a claim. For example, a person who climbs over the fence into a dog pen and gets bitten obviously contributed to the attack by making a bad choice. They may have partial (or even full) liability for their own dog bite injury. Provoking the dog can also be a contributing factor. These factors are important in determining if you have a viable claim and the value of your claim.
If possible it is helpful to document the claim with pictures of both the dog and the bite marks.
If you have been bitten by a dog, our office can help.