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What you should know if bitten by a relative’s or friend’s dog

On Behalf of | May 23, 2023 | Injuries |

If you’ve suffered a serious dog bite, you could end up facing some extensive medical bills. If the dog belonged to a stranger or neighbor who was walking them off-leash, you likely wouldn’t hesitate to make sure they compensated you for your losses. That could involve a lawsuit.

If you were bitten by a dog belonging to a close relative or a good friend (which happens often), you might be hesitant about seeking reimbursement from them. You certainly don’t want to take legal action.

Homeowners’ insurance often covers these injuries

You may not have to worry about that. Dog bites are typically covered under homeowners’ and renters’ insurance policies. In fact, any type of injury caused by a dog – for example, if they ran in front of them and caused them to fall and hit their head – may be covered. 

The bite or injury doesn’t have to occur in the home that’s covered by the policy. It’s important for you to know what the dog owner’s policy covers. They may not even know themselves.

New York law prohibits discrimination against “dangerous” breeds

Fortunately, under a New York law that took effect just last year, insurance companies can’t deny coverage for dogs based on their breed. The law says in part, With respect to homeowners’ insurance policies…no insurer shall refuse to issue or renew, cancel, or charge or impose an increased premium or rate…based solely upon harboring or owning any dog of a specific breed or mixture of breeds If a dog has been “declared dangerous as defined in New York State Law.”

Regardless of whose dog bit or injured you or a loved one, you have a right to fair compensation for your financial losses, if not for non-economic losses as well.  If you’re having difficulty getting this compensation, it may be wise to seek legal guidance to determine what options you have.