Pay for medical bills pain and suffering and scar treatment. Dog has never been aggressive. I have 2 small children. Been around other kids no problem. We were at City Park. Dog leashed. Child came over to dog no parent. I told parent to take child to Er. She was going to take her home. What do I need to do?
1. You need to get counsel. You will need to privately retain and the counsel should review if the claim should have been accepted by insurance. If it should have been, you have a bad faith against the insurance company.
2. Regardless of this, this must be defended and evaluated. This would include seeing the childs medical records and reviewing the facts.
3. The standard for a dog bite liability is no longer "the one bite rule" It is if the owner knew or should have known the dog was aggressive or had a propensity to bite.
I have handled multiple dog bite cases and they are interesting to say the least. Feel free to contact me or any other attorney and I urge you to hurry in doing this to protect your family
In no way am I offering you legal advice, and in no way has my comment created an attorney-client relationship. You are not to rely upon my note above in any way, but instead need to sit down with counsel and share all relevant facts before receiving fully-informed legal advice.
I'm a former Insurance claims manager where I handled and or managed thousands of insurance claims. I worked for The Hartford and then USF&G, two of the oldest and most sophisticated Insurance companies in the country. I left for law school with 8 national insurance certifications including the CPCU (Chartered Property & Casualty Underwriter) and CIC (Certified Insurance Counselor). Now, and for the last 19 years, I have only represented people with claims against insurance carriers and handled by my old coworkers.
It sounds like your insurance company has denied liability not denied coverage. I'm always surprised to find that a good number of people do not realize home owners liability coverage and med pay coverage for that matter covers the events arising out of the The negligence negligence of the homeowner and/or the defense of the homeowner when negligence is alleged but not true or defenses available. Moreover, med pay coverage applies without negligence as long as the injury resulted from involvement with the homeowner even if the involvement, with lack of negligence, occurred somewhere other than the home anywhere in the U.S. So, it sounds like a denial of liability which means your insurance company has determined that you were not at fault for the injuries based on how it happened. There are a variety of hurdles in most states that a plaintiff must overcome to prove liability without any defenses to a dog bite including typically proof of the dogs prior propensity to bite or be aggressive.
Let me say a word or two about the difference between a denial of liability and a denial of coverage. Hey denial of liability means that your carrier has no issues or problems with you or your policy and the policy was in full force and effect at the time of the incident with coverage for the incident alleged if you were actually to blame/negligent for causation. Most importantly, with a denial of liability your carrier will defend you all the way through a lawsuit and judgment if necessary by paying for a defense lawyer to protect your interest and fight off the plaintiff. Often times after lawsuit is filed, discovery begins and the carrier determines they have wrongfully denied liability and decide to pay the claim prior to the actual trial. Often times after a denial of liability and for lawsuit is filed the plaintiff seeks guidance from Lawyers in an effort to pursue the matter via litigation and litigation never occurs because there actually is no liability and your carriers denial was accurate. The third scenario would be that litigation begins and ends with a verdict in your favor or in the plaintiffs favor which would then be paid by your insurance carrier up to the policy limit. homeowners limits these days or at least 100,000 and there's a trend toward 300,000. However there are other limits so check that and also check to see if you have an umbrella policy for additional amount of coverage.
I personally believe the defense coverage you receive under your homeowners and for that matter all policies containing liability coverage is the most valuable component. The cost of defense does not come out of your policy limit and all costs associated with the defense are covered.
Tell the people that your insurance carrier is handling the matter and you were not allowed to interfere with their handling or investigation or you will be violating the pasta language which would then possibly provide the carrier with a right to actually deny coverage, which you do not want. Your medical pay coverage should apply if you have any. Most policies contain at least 1000 and some carry 2000 or even 5000. Again, this coverage is available for the medical costs and expenses on the goodwill basis based on the fact that your dog was involved in the incident even though technically you may not be liable in tort or negligent. Dont be surprised if your adjuster does not realize this coverage applies! Read the policy and help him!
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