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Is the dog owner liable for reimbursing my medical bill that was charged to my health insurance company?

Katy, TX |

My brother and I were leash walking our dogs one day in our neighborhood. Two dogs escaped out of their backyard when they heard us walking through their street. They immediately attacked our bigger dog, then attacked our small chihuahua. They also bit my brother during the attack. We immediately went to an emergency hospital. My brother's emergency visit was paid by the family's health insurance. Are the dog owners still liable for reimbursing his and our dogs medical bills?

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Attorney answers 5


It depends. Your brother's bill was probably paid from med-pay coverage, which has nothing to do with who was at fault. That coverage does not include animals.

An owner of dogs is responsible for damage to your property (your dogs) only if the owner was negligent is restraining his dogs and knew they would likely attack other dogs or people. That would fall under liability coverage, which does depend on fault. So it is possible, depending on a lot of details, that your brother's bill would get paid, but the homeowner's insurance would contest liability for the attack on your dogs.

There are other issues. If the bills exceed the value of your dogs for example, that can be a problem. If the bills were large, get a lawyer to help you. If not, and they are denied by the homeowner's insurance company, you may want to sue in justice court.

This is not legal advice. You should always discuss the specifics of your issue in person with an attorney. Be aware that there are time limits on all claims that depend on the kind of claim, so do not delay in seeking an attorney.


Yes, the owners are responsible for any losses occasioned by their dogs escaping.

Please only call me if your case is in California as I am only licensed here and laws of other states may vary. I approach trials and issues from a legal and common sense approach, This is how the majority of judges I have appeared before in 40 years also make decisions. I do not intend by my advice to enter an attorney client relationship and in most cases advise to obtain legal representation. Sometimes if you can not afford it a consultation or limited scope representation is available. As an experienced attorney I can tell you, judges can be impatient, hate emotional arguments and over exagerations or lies. A brief outline of the problems and desired solutions is always best and I often in limited scope representations advise clients on how to proceed at time of hearing or trial and my fees are considerably less when I do not appear in court as it takes much less of my time.


The dog owners would likely be responsible for all of the medical bills. You should contact a local dog bite lawyer to review all of the facts and circumstances of the attack.


Texas is a so-called "one bite free" state. In other words, the first time a dog bites someone, the owner is not liable. After that, they are liable for damages. The owner can also be liable for negligence.

Talk to a local personal injury lawyer about your case. They can help you evaluate whether to proceed. Chances are the owner's homeowner insurance will handle the claim.

By the law, if a claim is paid, the health insurance company is entitled to repayment of the amounts they paid.

Good luck.


If it was not the first time the dog bit someone perhaps, so retain a local personal injury lawyer to investigate.