Can I get compensation from the homeowner's insurance policy?

by Vickie
(Tennessee, USA)

I'm wondering if I can get dog bite injury compensation for what happened to me. I spent the night with an acquaintance due to late business. When I left for work the next morning, there were 2 ways out the door:

1. A backroom where boxes were stored, and
2. A front screened-in porch with dog chained to the front door.

I could not get out the back door so the only other option I had was to go out the front. The dog seemed angry and I thought he might be cold and hungry... it was freezing out there.

I gave the dog food and he calmed down. I tried to lay a blanket down beside him (the temperature was below freezing) and the next thing I knew I was laying on the porch with the tip of my finger bit off. I was alone so I called an ambulance which took me to the emergency room. It has been 8 months and my finger is hypersensitive.

I'm wondering if I can recover anything for my injury from the homeowner's policy? Thanks.

Visitor Question:
Disclaimer: Information provided in our response is NOT formal legal advice. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Under no circumstances should the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site be relied upon when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Our response does NOT create an attorney-client relationship. Always get a formal case review from a licensed attorney in your area.

ANSWER for "Can I Get Dog Bite Injury Compensation from the Homeowner's Insurance Policy?":


There is a good chance you can recover compensation for your injury from your acquaintance’s homeowners policy. Ask your acquaintance for the name, address, telephone number, and policy number of the homeowner’s policy.

Collect copies of the ambulance and other medical bills related to the injury. Have someone take a digitally clear photograph of your injured and maimed finger.

Collect copies of all of your out of pocket expenses. Those expenses might include everything from an estimate of the gasoline you used to travel back and forth to the doctors, to bandages purchased, and even parking lot fees.

When that's done contact the homeowners insurance company. Tell them you want to file a claim. They will assign a claim number and adjuster to work with you. You will need to send her copies of all of the above bills.

Once accomplished, the traditional method of estimating compensation for your injuries is to multiply your medical bills by 3, so that if you added all your medical bills and they totaled $3,000.00 dollars your demand to the insurance company would be $9,000.00.

There's more. As your finger is hypersensitive, there may be a chance you will require future medical attention. If so you should attempt to estimate the future cost of the additional treatment and add it to your original demand of $9,000.00. So if you estimate your “future meds” amount to be an additional $2,000.00 dollars, then your total demand would be about $15,000.00 dollars.

One of the reasons the medical bills are multiplied by 3 is to include an amount for pain and suffering. Because there is no way to accurately measure pain and suffering the tradition has been to use the 3x multiplication to include whatever amount pain and suffering might be.

The out of pocket expenses are not to be included in the medical bills and 3x demand. Those expenses are usually reimbursed dollar for dollar.

You should also realize there is no law requiring a settlement to be at 3x the medical bills. It could be 4x, 5x or more. It could also be 2x, 1x, or just the exact amount of medical bills.

Finally, in most states there is a 2 year Statute of Limitations for personal injuries. That means you have 2 years from the date you were injured to either settle the case or file a lawsuit. If you miss that date you may lose your right to receive any money.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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