The Neighbor’s Dog Bit Me, But I Don’t Want To Make A Claim Against My Neighbor
It may be the neighbor’s dog, or a relative’s dog, or maybe you just don’t believe in suing people. Regardless of your reason for not wanting to bring a claim, you do need to know what you should do after being bitten by a dog, as well as the best medical treatment for your dog bite.
The reason most people are reluctant to bring a claim against someone they know is they mistakenly believe that it will cost their friend or relative money. However, dog owners pay a premium to their homeowner’s insurance company precisely so that if there is a claim, the insurance company will pay it. To pay for homeowner’s insurance and not use it is a waste of money. Homeowner’s insurance pays for your medical bills. Your claim for being bitten by a dog is against the owner’s insurance company, not against them personally. Insurance companies are more than happy when dog bite victims do not pursue a claim because it contributes to their profits.
Talking to the owner of the dog about a claim.
You may be considering a claim but you are reluctant to approach the owner of the dog. There are two ways of handling this dilemma. First, you need to explain to them that there is nothing personal involved in making a claim against their homeowner’s insurance for their dog biting you. If there is no merit to the claim, or if they have a defense to a dog bite claim, the insurance company will deny the claim. Explain that you need to have your medical bills paid. Explain that your health insurance may not pay for your medical bills since someone else’s insurance should be primary. You should not pay out of pocket for injuries caused by their dog. Reiterate that the reason they have homeowner’s insurance is to cover claims such as these. If you want us to speak with the owner of the dog prior to bringing a claim, we are happy to do so. Have them read our article, “What will happen to the dog that bit me?” to reassure them that nothing is going to happen to their pet.
The other option is for us to get in touch with their homeowner’s insurance directly. This bypasses communication with the owner of the dog. This option, however, frequently results in hard feelings between the dog owner and the dog bite victim. Ultimately the claim is yours and you can decide how to handle it any way you wish. But keep in mind that you are the victim here.
You do not need to make a decision on bringing a claim right away. The law allows you up to two years to present a claim for damages when you are bitten by a dog. The two year statute of limitations simply means that you must file a lawsuit within two years or your claim is barred.
Contact us regarding any time limitations in bringing a dog bite case. Additionally, the time limit for bringing a case for your child is much longer. Children have until their 20th birthday to bring a claim for damages after being bitten by a dog. Visit our For Parents section to learn more about your child’s dog bite case.