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Suffering a dog bite is not only physically damaging (and may involve significant scarring and vaccinations), but it can also create severe emotional damage. With approximately 4.5 million dog bites each year, it's important to know the proper steps involved incase you do get bit. First off, it's imperative to get the name and number of the dog's owner as these types of claims may have significant value (insurance companies paid $530 million in dog related claims in 2014). The value of these claims can vary greatly, making it critical to hire an experienced attorney that has settled countless dog bite cases.
Typically, the claim is made against the owner of the dog. Any judgment or settlement obtained is usually paid by a homeowner's insurance policy, or renter's policy (in the case the dog is owned by a private person); if the dog is owned by a business entity, or bit on the premises of a business, business insurance may cover the loss.
Certain dog breeds are specifically excluded from coverage under some policies. Whether the exclusion is applicable to a particular loss may have to be litigated, in addition to liability.
Liability may be contested if the plaintiff could be considered contributorily negligent, or was an unauthorized, uninvited visitor on the grounds where the dog was secured.
Because these claims often result in scarring, the length of time to conclude the claim may be longer than other negligence cases. It is necessary to see how the scar heals, to know the extent of any permanency.
It's imperative that you call to discuss your case with an experienced attorney to discuss your options. D.C., Maryland, and Virginia attorney Roger Gelb and his firm have represented over 10,000 clients and have recovered in excess of $100,000,000.00 (one hundred millions dollars) since its founding in 1954. Contact us today for a free consultation.