According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 20 percent of all dog bites are severe enough to require medical attention. Dog bites cost victims millions of dollars each year.
If you’re a victim, don’t make the mistake of assuming that you can’t work with a Tampa dog bite lawyer to recover for your injuries. In addition to bringing a traditional claim for compensation, in Florida, you may be able to recover for your damages through the dog owner’s pet liability insurance.
Pet Liability Insurance in Florida
Pet liability insurance is a type of insurance coverage that compensates animal bite victims including victims of dog bites. Pet liability insurance is a way that animal bite victims may recover for their damages even if the animal’s owner can’t pay damages with their own funds.
Insurance that covers animal liability covers legal liability to third parties when an animal bites a third party. Many pet owners have liability insurance even if they don’t realize it through their homeowner’s policy. When pet liability insurance applies, it steps in and pays damages when a pet owner would otherwise have legal liability for an injury caused by an animal.
Dog Bite Liability Insurance in Florida
Dog bite liability insurance may come from the pet owner’s homeowner’s insurance or renter’s insurance. It may also be a stand-alone policy that a person purchases when they own a pet. Sometimes, pet liability insurance is automatically a part of a homeowner insurance policy or a renter insurance policy. A person can have a pet liability policy without even knowing that they have it.
Does Pet Liability Insurance Cover My Dog Bite Injuries?
To see if pet liability insurance covers your dog bite injuries, it’s important to read the insurance policy in question carefully. While pet liability insurance covers many types of pets and many kinds of injuries, there are still some limitations and exclusions. It’s important to read what the policy has to say.
For example, some homeowner’s policies and renter’s policies don’t cover pet liability at all. Other times, a person has pet liability insurance with exclusions for specific breeds. Sometimes, homeowner’s insurance doesn’t apply if the pet has a bite history. The only way to know for sure if a pet liability insurance policy applies to pay a claim is by looking at the actual language of the insurance policy itself.
Florida Laws Are Helpful to Dog Bite Victims and Favor Pet Liability Insurance Payments
Although victims filed fewer claims in 2018 than in 2017, the average payment per claim keeps rising. The Insurance Information Institute says that pet liability insurers paid out a total of $675 million in 2018 for pet liability claims.
Florida residents rank second nationwide for the number of dog bite claims. Floridians made 1,281 dog bite claims in 2018. The average payment in Florida is $43,893 per dog bite claim. That figure is higher than the average payout nationwide which is $39,017.
Florida Pet Liability Insurance
Perhaps the reason that Florida ranks second nationwide in the number of dog bite insurance liability claims is that Florida law protects victims of dog bites. Florida is a state that holds the pet owner liable in all dog bite cases unless an affirmative defense applies.
In some other states, a pet owner can escape liability by claiming that they’re unaware that the pet has a bite history. However, in Florida, the pet owner is liable for their pet’s damages the first time that the pet causes harm. Unless one of the exceptions to dog bite liability applies, the pet owner must pay the victim for their damages. The fact that Florida has strong laws that favor dog bite victims may explain Florida’s high rate of dog bite liability insurance claims.
What Do I Have to Prove to Recover for My Dog Bite Under a Pet Liability Insurance Policy?
You may recover from the pet owner’s liability insurance policy if the insurance policy applies under the facts of the case and the same terms that the pet owner bears legal liability for the dog bite. It’s important to examine both the law that applies and the pet owner’s insurance policy terms. Even if the pet owner liability insurance doesn’t apply, you may still bring a legal claim and seek to collect payment directly from the pet owner.
What Should I Do If I Want to Make a Claim Under a Dog Bite Insurance Policy?
With the average payment from pet liability insurance being $43,893 in Florida, it’s important to take the right steps to make a claim under a dog bite insurance policy. It’s important to value your claim accurately including compensation for pain and suffering. Your skilled animal attack attorney can help.
You may pursue a traditional legal claim, or you may work to approach the insurance company in hopes of arriving at a fair settlement. Your attorney can help you build your case and handle the negotiations with the insurance company. When you work with an experienced dog bite attorney, it may be possible to reach a fair settlement with the insurance company for your damages. Your attorney can help you take the necessary steps to pursue a settlement effectively.
How Can a Dog Bite Liability Attorney Help Me?
Whether you can receive a fair settlement or take your case to trial, your attorney can help you take the best steps at each stage in the case. They can even help you if the dog bite owner is uncooperative in helping you make a claim through their insurance policy. With experience and negotiation skills, your attorney can help you take the needed steps to recover when you’re hurt by a dog bite or any animal attack.
Contact Our Tampa Animal Attack Attorneys
The team at Jack Bernstein, Injury Attorneys, have decades of experience helping deserving animal attack victims. Jack Bernstein and his team have helped hundreds of satisfied clients just like you. If you’re wondering what to do after a dog bite or other animal attack, they can help you understand your options and work towards the best possible outcome in your case.
For a complimentary consultation with no obligation, contact Jack Bernstein and his legal team today.