Our dog attacked our 3 year old son...

by Anonymous
(Michigan)

Our 2 children were playing in our backyard and our dogs were out there. We had just purchased one of the dogs a week before the incident. The dog attacked and caused extensive damage to my child's ear and face.

I was wondering if anyone knew if this would be covered under our homeowners insurance since it was our dog? Is there anything else we can do? Thanks.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Our dog attacked our 3 year old son...":

Anonymous (Michigan):

Yes. Your homeowners policy should cover your child's injuries and resultant costs.

Do not wait. Contact your homeowner's insurance company. Reporting the accident is just like reporting a car accident where someone was injured. As long as your homeowners policy is current, you and your child should be covered.

Within a few days of reporting the accident your homeowners insurance company will initiate an investigation. Be sure to cooperate fully and tell the truth.

Have in your possession copies of all your child's medical bills, the out of pocket expenses such as prescription and over the counter medications, bandages, and the like. If you had to take off time from work, get a verifiable letter from your employer about the wages you lost. (Although there is no guarantee those lost wages will be covered, you should submit the verification anyway.)

Also be sure to ask the treating doctor(s) what your child's prognosis will be, especially if there is a chance there will be long-term disabilities including scarring.

You have the right to negotiate with the insurance company's claims adjuster. The adjuster isn't doing you a favor. She is doing her job. You have paid the premiums for your policy and have a right to take advantage of the benefits it offers.

Once the claims adjuster completes her investigation she will send you a check for the amount you negotiated. It will be accompanied by a Release Form. Be very sure before you endorse the check and sign the release that the money will be enough to cover all of the costs discussed above.

Unless you have made recent and previous claims your policy shouldn't be adversely affected and your premiums shouldn't rise.

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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