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What kind of compensation can you get for a dog bite?

You might have been visiting a friend, walking up to knock on a neighbor's door or been riding a bike across the street when a dog attacked. You recognize it as your neighbor's pet during the attack, and you say so after emergency help arrives. You are taken to receive medical care, and now you have to start asking how you're going to cover these expenses.

Who has to pay after a dog bites you?

After a dog bite, the owner of the dog is required to pay for the medical care you need. Around one out of every six dog bites requires medical care, with one in 14 requiring emergency care including surgery.

Typically, you can receive compensation through the dog owner's homeowner's insurance. This insurance policy usually offers between $100,000 and $300,000 in liability coverage for anything that happens on the person's property. However, if the person is uninsured or is renting when a dog bite occurs, he or she may not have any insurance to cover your injuries.

If insurance will cover the injuries, you should expect to wait months to years before you receive payments. It takes time to know how much money you'll need for your recovery and how much you'll lose in financial losses. Your attorney can begin negotiating with the insurance company right away, so the time it takes to receive a settlement can be reduced.

In cases where surgery is required, most patients end up staying in the hospital for at least three days. This single surgery can cost up to $20,000 for just the first day in the intensive care unit. It's important to keep all your medical expenses organized to submit them to your attorney. Your attorney can use them to negotiate with the insurance company or keep it for evidence in court.

Source: DogsBite.org, "Dog bite victims," accessed Jan. 13, 2017

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