Here’s a sample demand letter to a negligent dog owner’s insurance company. Get fair compensation for a dog attack with our helpful tips.
Dog attacks are common reasons for homeowner’s insurance liability claims.
Even in states with “one-bite” rules, where the owner might get a free pass if their dog had no history of aggression, you have a right to seek compensation when you’re injured by a dog owner’s negligence.
Your injuries from a dog attack can be fairly minor, like bumps and bruises and maybe a few stitches. Of course, some dog attacks result in catastrophic, even fatal injuries.
Claims for severe injuries after a dog attack should be handled by a personal injury attorney to ensure an appropriate settlement for the victim.
Relatively minor injury claims can usually be handled on your own, so long as you’re comfortable negotiating a dog bite claim without an attorney.
When handling your own claim, the negotiations phase gets underway when you send a formal compensation demand letter to the insurance company.
Learn more about How to Write an Effective Demand Letter.
Put Together an Impressive Demand Packet
The adjuster might offer a quick payoff to make your claim go away, but it’s usually in your best interest to recover from your injuries before discussing settlement.
During your recovery is a good time to gather important evidence and organize the paperwork you’ll need for your insurance claim.
Your evidence might include:
If your medical provider didn’t report the dog attack to local Animal Control authorities, do it yourself. Then, make sure you get a copy of the Animal Control officer’s investigation and report. You may find out there were complaints filed about the dog before you were attacked.
When you’re ready to write a demand letter, first calculate the settlement value of your injury claim by adding your “special damages” and “general damages.”
“Special damages” are expenses from the dog attack you can prove with bills, receipts, and wage statements.
There are no objective measurements for “general damages,” like your terror and pain from the attack, but there are other ways to justify your pain and suffering claim after a dog attack.
Make copies of your evidence to send with your demand letter. The original documents should be in your injury claim file. You can use regular copy paper for your records and other evidence.
Write an Impressive Demand Letter
When you’re handling your own insurance claim, there’s no reason your demand letter can’t be as impressive as one written by an attorney. Write like a pro with a little attention to detail:
- Use your typing program functions to check spelling and grammar
- Manually check the spelling of names and locations
- Be sure your math calculations are correct
- Print your letter on good quality bond paper
Your demand letter should include:
- Statement of Facts: How the dog attack happened
- Liability: Why the dog owner is liable for your injuries
- Injuries: What kind of injuries you suffered and how they affected you
- Damages: A list of the costs for all your damages
Sign the letter with your full name in blue or black ink. Make a copy of the complete packet for your file.
Send the packet by USPS certified mail, return receipt requested. When the receipt comes back, attach it to your copy of the demand letter.
Sample Demand Letter for Dog Attack Injuries
We’ve drafted a sample demand letter from a fictional dog attack victim who was bitten while jogging in a residential neighborhood. Use our sample format and practical tips when writing your own demand letter.
Click for tips on writing your demand letter.
1566 Indian Road
Phoenix, AZ 85017
July 27, 2020
Classic Insurance Company
1001 Bond Street
Columbus, OH 25401
Attn: Fred Miller
Your Insured: Molly Daniels
Re: Dog Attack on June 1, 2020
Claim Number: PI00006697
FOR SETTLEMENT PURPOSES ONLY
Dear Mr. Miller:
As you know, I was painfully injured on June 1, 2020, on the public sidewalk in front of your insured’s residence, when your insured’s unrestrained dog suddenly and viciously attacked me.
I needed emergency treatment for bruises and abrasion to my arms and legs, and bite wounds to my left leg. The entire experience was terrifying and left me in pain, emotional distress, and out of work for more than two weeks.
When I go out for my morning exercise, I watch where I’m going and stay alert. To avoid traffic, I stay on the public sidewalk while jogging through a residential neighborhood.
I could not have anticipated that Molly Daniels decided to let her German Shepherd run loose that morning. As I jogged past Ms. Daniel’s home, I was attacked without warning, through no fault of my own.
I am seeking compensation for the injury-related damages I suffered because of your insured’s negligence. Those damages include my medical expenses, lost wages, and my pain and suffering.
SUMMARY OF FACTS
On the morning of June 1, 2020, around 7:00 a.m., I was seriously injured when your insured’s dog violently attacked me.
I was jogging northbound on Maple Street in Glendale, Arizona. As I jogged past your insured’s home, suddenly and without warning, your insured’s German Shepherd bolted from around the side of the house onto the sidewalk and bit hard into my left calf.
The dog came at me fast, viciously snarling with teeth bared. I had no chance to get away before those long teeth clamped down on my leg. I was screaming, and the dog continued growling while holding fast to my leg.
I fell to the ground, screaming and crying. The pain was blinding. Instinctively, I tried to kick out with my other foot, but the dog only became more ferocious, and wouldn’t let go.
Fortunately, just before the attack, John Samuels was walking out of his Maple Street home. He saw the attack as it happened and came to my aid. At about the same time, your insured, Molly Daniels, heard the attack in progress and came running from the front door of her home.
Ms. Daniel’s grabbed the dog by his collar while yelling, “Release! Release!” She dragged the snarling dog back into her house, closed the front door, then returned to me.
By this time, Mr. Samuels was at my side, trying to help me. He had called 911 and was using his hand to put pressure on my lower leg, where the blood was soaking through my sweatpants.
Ms. Daniels was upset and apologetic. She said, “I don’t usually let him out by himself, but I was late getting ready for work and didn’t think he’d leave the yard. I didn’t realize anyone would be around here this early in the morning. I’m so sorry!”
As Ms. Daniels was apologizing, and while we waited for the ambulance, we could hear your insured’s dog barking and snarling, and see it jumping against the glass front door of your insured’s home.
I was absolutely terrified that the powerful German Shepherd would batter open the door and come after me again. As you can see from the enclosed photographs, Mr. Samuels videoed the dog’s behavior and took several pictures of the scene, including my blood all over the sidewalk.
Mr. Samuels saw me jogging down the street, saw the brutal dog attack, and heard everything Ms. Daniels said. He could see I was in excruciating pain and still terrified, so he stayed with me until the ambulance came.
INJURIES AND TREATMENT
I was initially treated at the scene of the attack by paramedics with the City Fire and Rescue Squad. After stabilizing me, they transported me to the City General Hospital. I was still shaking from fright and crying from the pain. I was even more distressed after vomiting in the ambulance; I was so embarrassed.
At the hospital, I was treated in the emergency department by Dr. Susan Atkins. Dr. Atkins cleaned and sutured a three-inch gash to my left calf. The gash was located within ten millimeters of the gastrocnemius muscle. The doctor put in ten stitches to close the dog bite wound.
Dr. Atkins prescribed ten days of antibiotics to prevent infection. I was also given a prescription for Tramadol to manage the pain. I was told to avoid any weight-bearing for a week, then only partial weight-bearing for another week while continuing to use the crutches, until the wound was closed, and the stitches came out.
I was told to dress the wound daily with antibiotic ointment and clean gauze. I was to follow up with my primary doctor in two weeks to get the stitches out, or sooner if I had problems or signs of infection.
I saw my primary health care provider, Dr. Casey, on June 15, 2020. Dr. Casey removed the stitches and told me I’d probably have a permanent scar on the back of my leg. He said I could go back to work on June 17th, but not to start jogging again for two more weeks.
When I could resume jogging, I discovered I was unable to go out on my own. Your insured’s dog attacked me without warning. Now I’m too nervous and anxious to jog alone.
I have worked as a shipping clerk at the DBS Delivery Company for three years. During my treatment and recovery, I was unable to perform my job duties.
My duties require me to be able to walk around the office and carry files, shipping orders, and materials to the warehouse part of the complex. I have to be able to walk on stairs and uneven surfaces while carrying a maximum of 20 pounds. I could do none of those tasks while on crutches.
Before your insured’s dog viciously attacked me, I had an excellent attendance record. After the unprovoked dog attack knocked me off my feet, I was forced to miss thirteen days of work.
Being off work was no picnic. I was in pain and severely limited in my activities. I went from being healthy, athletic and independent, to needing help with every activity of daily living. I was frustrated and depressed that I needed help even with bathing and dressing.
I had many sleepless nights because of the pain in my leg, and the bruises all over my body from slamming to the hard pavement during the brutal attack. When I did manage to fall asleep, I awoke gasping from the nightmares of that snarling dog attacking me over and over again.
On top of everything else, the antibiotic gave me terrible stomach cramps and diarrhea. It was horrible trying to hurry to the bathroom on crutches and navigate the bathroom on one leg. It was a completely miserable two weeks.
ITEMIZATION OF DAMAGES
To compensate me for the physical pain, emotional distress, and the financial losses I sustained because of the negligence of your insured, I demand the total amount of $13,225 to resolve my injury claim.
Please respond within fifteen (15) business days. I appreciate your prompt attention to this matter.
Cell phone: 555-675-8896
Get an Attorney When You Need One
Most minor injury claims can be settled after a few rounds of offers and counteroffers with the adjuster, especially if you were attacked in a state with strict-liability dog bite laws.
If you’ve put together a good demand packet with strong evidence of the dog owner’s negligence, your claim should proceed without a hitch, no matter where you live.
However, sometimes injury negotiations break down. If you run into complications with your dog attack claim, it’s good to know you can get a good attorney when you need one.
Don’t settle for less, even when the adjuster says it’s their “final offer.” You’d be surprised how often the adjuster will make a better offer once an attorney gets involved.
Most injury attorneys don’t charge dog attack victims for their initial consultation. There no obligation on your part, and it costs nothing to find out what a good attorney can do for you.
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