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My dog was attacked by a large dog and needed medical care. How long do I have to demand reimbursement and/or file a case?

Delray Beach, FL |

My dog was attacked by a large dog and needed emergency surgery and is still needing ongoing wound care. How long do I have to demand reimbursement from the owner of the attacking dog? How long can I give them to reimburse? I want to be reasonable, but I don't want to provide too long a period of and miss an opportunity to file in small claims court if he never pays. What is the statute of limitations to file in small claims court from the date of the incident? Is there a requirement to demand payment within a certain amount of days? I am holding off because my dog's wound is still needing care so the costs are not final yet.

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Attorney answers 5


Do so asap. See if they have a homeowner's insurance policy that will cover it.


You do not state when the attack happened so I would support Attorney Lassen's answer and suggest you do so asap so as to ensure that you are within the statute of limitations.

No information provided in response to these questions can be relied upon in any way without further personally consulting with Attorney Kerrigan and Attorney Kerrigan consulting personally with you regarding your specific legal situation.



Hi - The attack happened on July 4th - six weeks ago - I would like to wait a few more weeks as her wound is infected and still receiving considerable treatment. Looking to see if I have to file a demand letter in XX amount of days, or small claims in XX amount of months? Don't want to miss some sort of deadline I am unaware of, but the vet bills are still coming in... :-(

Timothy George Kerrigan

Timothy George Kerrigan


No reason to wait for conclusion if you can get the claim set up and bills to the carrier, hopefully there is one without a big dog exclusion in the policy. The idea would be to have an attorney write to the dog owner now to put them on notice of the claim and seek the name of the homeowner's policy and then deal with the carrier directly.


You may be able to pursue a claim through the dog owner's home owner's/renter insurance policy. Contact an animal rights attorney in your area to go over your legal options.

Any accident and legal information provided by Davis Law Group to non-clients is for general information purposes only. It is not a substitute for legal advice. No attorney-client relationship is created or maintained without a signed written agreement between the client and the law firm.


Realistically, your options are most likely dictated by the homeowner's insurance policy of the dog owner. In that regard, more often than not, HO policies do not cover the actions of dogs, though some policies do. The only way to know would be to get a copy of the owner's policy. In most instances, an attorney will not pursue this type of case unless the attorney believes there is an insurance policy he can collect from. This does not mean that you need for there to be insurance coverage for,the matter at hand to file suit or recover money but that it is generally impractical to do so because it is generally harder to collect on a matter without insurance coverage. Different legal actions have different statutes of limitations. Because of the same, you always want to pursue legal recourse sooner rather than later; that way you do not miss your legal opportunity. I hope this helps.


If the person did not have homeowners insurance sometimes people have what is called umbrella insurance which might cover this claim. Also if this happened in some kind of private apartment complex you may be able to hold the apartment complex liable if there is a policy on the maximum size dog allowed to reside at the property. Most homeowners policies do exclude the acts of dogs, even refering to the dog by name within the policy.

The response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter within the question. This is not meant to be legal advice in any way shape or form. By answering this question I am not intending to form a client lawyer relationship with you. You should contact a lawyer licensed in your state in order to receive an authorative answer to your question.

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