Dog Bites and Bankruptcy

dog bite claimsWhat happens when a dog bites another person? Unfortunately, it not only causes a victim permanent physical and emotional anguish - it can have serious consequences for the dog's owner, their lifestyle, and finances. In an MSN Money article by Liz Pulliam Weston, the author explained that if a dog attacks someone, it could lead to five-figure costs, battles with the insurance company, community service, and even jail time. In one frightening case in 2001, a married couple was convicted of involuntary manslaughter when their two Presa Canarios mauled a woman to death in the hallway of her apartment building.

In one case, a woman walking her dog to the bus stop to pick up her children was attacked by an American bulldog weighing 90 pounds. The woman's nose was bitten off by the dog. The owner, who insisted that his dog had no history of violence or aggressiveness, was sentenced to four months in jail and 100 hours of community service.

Luckily, the dog owner's insurance covered the financial damages. The woman who was attacked needed several plastic surgeries and was awarded almost $1 million dollars. Her husband and her children also received $33,000 each, bringing the total to the maximum amount granted in the dog owner's insurance policy.

If the dog owner did not have insurance and did not have any assets, what would happen to the victim? The dog bite victim may have faced a situation where they would need to file for bankruptcy. On the other hand, if the dog owner's insurance was inadequate, bankruptcy could have been an option for them. If you were the victim of a dog attack and need legal represenation, our attorneys can help you. Our lawyers also handle bankruptcy claims in North Carolina, no matter what factors have caused your financial situation. 

The article also shared some shocking dog bite statistics, when it comes to money:

  • The average dog bite claim was $24,511 in 2007, according to the Insurance Information Institute. That amount has risen 11.5% in the last year and 28% since 2003.
  • Dog bites are responsible for 33% of all homeowner insurance liability claims and costs insurance companies $356 million last year.

What can you do to protect yourself from a dog attack? The simplest thing you can do is keep close watch over a dog, even if you believe that the animal is not aggressive or violent. Notify neighbors of broken fences, report dog owners who fail to tether their dogs appropriately, and never let your children play outside if you suspect a loose dog is in the neighborhood.