Does Insurance Cover California Dog Bite Claims?
In short, yes: Various types of insurance include coverage for losses related to dog bites, including business, property, and homeowners’ policies. According to a report published by Canine Journal, insurance companies pay out around $530 million every year to victims of dog bites and animal attacks. Individuals and companies pay premiums to protect their interests from a wide range of losses, some of which are caused by their own careless actions. Though dog bites cases can be based upon negligence, violation of a statute, or other factors, the legal process for a victim starts with filing an insurance claim.
However, recovering monetary damages is more than just filling out some forms. Dealing with an insurer is challenging, as these companies are in business to make a profit – not pay out large sums to victims like you. Your Oakland dog bite attorney will be at your side to ensure you get the compensation you deserve, but some basics help you understand what to expect.
Steps in the Insurance Claim Process
Once you receive medical treatment for dog bite injuries and are on the road to recovery, you can take the first step in the legal process. Filing an insurance claim does involve filling out some forms, but you will also need to include documents and other evidence to support your allegations. The two key points the insurance company will focus on are fault and the nature of your injuries, which can be proven by:
- Medical records;
- Your own statements;
- Recollections from witnesses;
- A police report; and
- Injury or incident reports completed by the business or property owner, if any.
Even with this evidence, the insurer could still deny your claim or make a lowball offer to settle. The company is trying to protect its bottom line, so the claims adjuster may dispute the severity of your injuries or blame you for the dog bite. Under the circumstances, you must take the next step to recover monetary damages: Filing a lawsuit in court.
Compensation for Dog Bite Victims
Whether you settle your claim with the insurance company or take your case to court, your monetary damages are generally the same. These amounts are intended to make you whole after suffering dog bite injuries, at least to the greatest extent possible. Compensation falls in two categories:
- Economic damages aim to reimburse you for the out-of-pocket, definable losses you sustain as a victim. Examples include medical bills and lost wages.
- Noneconomic damages are the subjective, personal losses that stem from dog bite injuries. This category of compensation covers pain and suffering, emotional distress, and scarring and disfigurement.
Trust an Oakland Dog Bite Lawyer to Deal with the Insurance Company
At Venardi Zurada, LLP, our team is aggressive in dealing with insurers. Our goal is to recover all types of compensation available under California dog bite laws, so please contact us to learn how we can help. We are happy to set up a free consultation at our offices in Oakland or Walnut Creek, CA.