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What are my options for compensation for animal attacks?

In a few of our blog posts, we have covered the subject of animal bite injuries. When a person gets injured by an animal, there are usually medical expenses associated with the cost of treating the animal bite. Even in the case of other animal attacks, such as cat scratches, there are costs of treating the injury. That brings up the question about who is responsible for paying for those costs when the attack is done by a pet.

Do I have to seek compensation from the animal owner?

You don't necessarily have to seek compensation from the animal owner. Many animal owners have insurance that can cover the costs of the attack. Generally, a homeowner who has a homeowner's liability insurance policy will have coverage against animal bites and attacks that occur on the property. Animal owners who have car insurance often have similar coverage that kicks in when the attack happens in or near a vehicle, such as if a dog bites from the back of a truck. Insurance companies can be tough to deal with, so you should make sure you know how to handle them to get the settlement you deserve.

Does the insurance company have to cover the incident?

Many insurance companies have limitations on the coverage they offer. Some opt to only cover the first claim for an animal attack. This means that if there was a previous attack that resulted in a claim, you might not be able to get compensation from the insurance company. Additionally, there might be exclusions of some dog breeds that are considered high risk. If a pet owner knows that the animal isn't covered by homeowner's or car insurance, they might opt to get animal insurance that would cover the incident.

What if the person doesn't have any insurance?

If the animal owner doesn't have any insurance that would cover animal attacks or bites, you could seek compensation from the owner through the Wisconsin civil court. This option might help you to avoid having to cover all the costs associated with the accident when you weren't to blame.

Source: FindLaw, "Animal Bites: Who Pays Damages?" Oct. 05, 2014

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