What to Expect During a Dog Bite Lawsuit
Do you know why dog bite liability insurance is so important for dog owners to have? Even if you think your dog “will never bite”, in the rare case that they do, lawsuits are typically drawn out over months or sometimes even years. These cases are not usually resolved quickly and could put quite a dent in your finances.
In addition to being properly insured, it’s a good idea to know what to expect during a dog bite lawsuit should you ever have to face one. For example, you can expect there to be multiple stages of the lawsuit, some of which will take longer than others. Before the lawsuit is even filed, you may be sent a “demand letter” informing you of the victim’s intent to sue, the injuries they sustained, the argument for their case, and a settlement amount they would accept to avoid trial.
If you’re faced with a dog bite lawsuit, your attorney will likely ask the injured person to give a deposition, which will be taken under oath. Common inquiries in a dog bite case include:
- If the injured person has a criminal history
- Places the injured person has lived in the past
- Their employment history and salaries
- Specifics about the dog bite such as where they were headed when they were bitten, what time of day the attack happened, and whether or not they were doing anything that could have provoked the bite
- Specifics about the injuries sustained and what treatment the injured person received
Should the case go to trial, there may be exceptions in which you won’t be found legally responsible for injuries caused by your dog. For example, you might not be held liable if the injured person:
- Provoked the injury from the dog
- Knowingly took the risk of being injured by the dog
- Was trespassing
- Was breaking the law
- Was unreasonably careless, and that carelessness contributed to the injury
It’s very important to realize that these legal defenses vary from state-to-state and on a case-by-case basis. An example of when provocation may be a justified legal defense is if an adult was purposefully hitting or teasing the dog. On the other hand, if an unknowing child were to brush up against a territorial dog while it was eating and get bit, provocation might not be a legal defense after all.
Nobody can predict when or if a dog bite will occur. That’s why it’s imperative to be covered in the even that it does. F.I.D.O., the Federation of Insured Dog Owners, Inc., now offers the Covered Canine Policy, an exclusive product and benefit for F.I.D.O. members only that specializes in Dog Bite Liability Insurance Programs This policy is available in California, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Utah and Wisconsin. It will protect you should your dog bite an individual and cause harm. It does not exclude any breed of dog and starts as low as $75 per dog, per year.