Every dog bite case is different, but the average dog bite claim takes between one to three months from the time a dog bite report is filed to settle. In cases that resolve quickly, liability is often clear, and both parties are cooperative during the investigation of the dog bite claim. You are probably thinking, “but, what happens if liability in an accident isn’t clear?” In more severe dog bite accidents, or in situations where liability is unclear, it can take more time for claims to resolve, but with an experienced lawyer representing your case, your dog bite claim has the tools needed to settle as quickly as possible.
What Determines How Long It’ll Take to Resolve a Dog Bite Claim?
Dog bite claims differ from case to case, and there are too many variables that could be involved to give a cut-and-dry answer for how long it’ll take to resolve each case. Typically, factors that determine how long it will take to resolve a dog bite claim include:
- Liability – if one party is clearly responsible for causing an accident, claims can typically be resolved quickly, but if there is more than one person liable in the dog bite accident, or it’s totally unclear who is liable, this can delay how long it takes to reach a settlement
- Evidence – when a dog bite report is made to the police or Animal Control, an investigation is started. During the investigation, evidence from the accident is examined, and a conclusion about who and what caused the accident, and where and when the dog bite occurred, is reached. The more evidence there is from the accident, the less time it takes for the investigation to end
- Prior Reports – if a dog has injured someone in the past or has shown a propensity to be dangerous, and there are past reports filed against the animal, the dog’s owner might be automatically held liable in the situation which can shorten the amount of time it takes to resolve the claim
- Lack of Cooperation – if a dog’s owner disagrees with the victim’s claim regarding the animal’s actions, or believes that the injured person is partially or fully liable in the accident, this can delay how long it will take to resolve a dog bite claim, especially if a lawsuit is involved
Resolving a Dog Bite Claim Through Homeowners Insurance
Homeowners and renters insurance typically cover dog bite accidents, but in some policies, there are exclusions and specific rules for filing a dog bite claim against your homeowners’ insurance. For example, certain breeds, such as Pit Bulls, Rottweilers, and other “dangerous dogs,” may not be covered, and depending on the severity of the accident, the cost of the victim’s damages might exceed the limits of the property owner’s homeowners policy.
Typically, homeowner's policy limits range between $100,000 to $300,000. If someone’s dog injures a person, and their damages exceed the amount of the homeowners’ insurance policy, the negligent party is liable to compensate the victim for damages that surpass the policy’s limits. In 2013, insurance companies in the U.S. paid out nearly $483 million in damages for dog bite cases, which included compensation for medical expenses, mental and emotional distress, lost income, and property damage.
Resolving a dog bite claim through homeowner's insurance generally takes between one to three months. After filing a claim, the insurance company will begin an investigation of the claim and determine if the accident is eligible for coverage. If the insurance company accepts the homeowner’s claim, the settlement is dispersed shortly after. However, if the victim is unhappy with the amount of compensation that the insurance company is willing to offer, obtaining a higher settlement through negotiations or by filing a lawsuit against the negligent dog’s owner can delay how long it takes to resolve a dog bite claim.
Speak with a Dog Bite Lawyer Today
If you have suffered dog bite injuries and are worried about how long it’ll take to resolve your dog bite claim, the best thing you can do for your case is hiring an experienced lawyer. A Dog Bite Lawyer has experience dealing with cases similar to yours and has the legal knowledge needed to create a strong claim for your dog bite case. From filing the initial claim against the dog’s negligent owner to negotiating with the other party’s insurance company, having an experienced lawyer by your side can shorten the amount of time it takes to recover compensation for your harm and losses and alleviate some of the stress of the situation.
Christopher Dixon and the Dog Bite Lawyers at the Dixon Injury Firm are committed to being by your side every step of the way when resolving your dog bite claim. Our lawyers are passionate about fighting for the rights of dog bite victims and making sure that victims and their family members are taken care of during such a terrible time. Chris Dixon’s personal injury legal efforts have recovered over $35,000,000 in settlements and recoveries for personal injury victims and earned the status of “Top 100 Trial Lawyer” by the National Trial Lawyers Association.
If you or someone you love is worried about how long it will take to resolve their dog bite claim, or needs legal representation for their case, call (314) 208-2808 or contact the Dixon Injury Firm today to schedule a free consultation with our Dog Bite Lawyers in St. Louis.