• Over 100 Years of Combined Experience
  • Millions of Dollars in Settlements & Verdicts
  • New Jersey Supreme Court Certified Civil Trial Lawyers
  • We Only Get Paid If You Collect
Daniel M. Santarsiero

Featured Personal
Injury Attorney

Insurance Claim For Dog Bite

A significant issue which invariably confronts our New Jersey Dog Bite Attorneys is whether there exists insurance coverage to compensate our client. Indeed, there are any number of scenarios which can create a lack of insurance coverage and then the only possibility for monetary recovery is against the NJ Dog Owner personally.  This certainly is not the preferred situation in which to litigate a dog bite case and therefore the determination of whether insurance coverage exists should typically be addressed early in a case. This is one of the first issues our lawyers press the defendant and its insurer to address. An attorney is an absolute necessitate in our judgment in a dog bite case because issues such as the amount of insurance coverage involved typically will not even be disclosed without a law firm involved.

Standard Dog Bite Insurance Coverage

The standard liability coverage in a homowners or renters policy is somewhere between $100,000 and $500,000, depending on the value of the related property that is being insured.  Most insurers also offer umbrella liability insurance coverage of $1,000,000 above and beyond the coverage provided under the standard liability policy.  Notwithstanding these coverages, a large number of insurance carriers in New Jersey have excluded dog bite coverage altogether from their policies, while others have attempted to limit the exclusion to certain breeds such as pitbull, rottweiler, german shephard, chow, alaskan malamute, akita and doberman pincher. Insurers have also tightened underwriting standards so as to avoid insuring homeowners, renters, and commercial enterprises where it involves unreasonable dog bite liability. These efforts are not surprising when you consider the fact that the Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports in excess of 7.0 million dog bites in a given year.

The ideal insurance coverage scenario in a dog bite case is that there exists both liability coverage and umbrella coverage.  This allows the victim of a dog bite or attack to recover for their medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, scars and disfigurement, disability and loss of enjoyment of life, up to the total amount of coverage provided under the insurance policies.  Where damages exceed the total amount of insurance coverage available, the excess damages generally have to be collected from the dog owner directly.  It should be noted, however, that insurance carriers uniformly require a release of the dog owner/their insured before they will pay the policy limit.  In other words, dog bite victims are often left with the choice of either accepting the policy limit in full or final settlement of the case, or trying their case with the net result being a possible excess verdict which is only collectible against the dog owner.

A Dog Bite Injury Attorney Is Ready To Assist You

An experienced dog bite attorney from our office would be happy to assist you in answering any insurance claim questions you possess. A lawyer is available immediately at 1-877-450-8301.