Ways to Get Medical Bills Paid for by the Dog Owner
Under New Mexico’s dog bite laws, dog owners are strictly liable to compensate you for a dog bite if they knew or should have known that their dog was vicious or had a tendency to be vicious. They can also be held responsible if their negligence caused the dog attack. Here are the ways you can obtain the compensation you deserve from the dog owner:
- Homeowner’s insurance. If the dog owner owns their home and has homeowner’s insurance, their policy will most likely cover dog bite injuries. You could file a claim to reimburse your medical expenses under this policy.
- Animal liability insurance. The owner may have purchased an animal liability insurance policy. This coverage would cover injuries and other damages a dog caused and would be a way to get your medical bills paid.
- Car insurance. If you were bitten by a dog while in the owner’s vehicle, or the dog jumped out of it and attacked you, you may be able to file a claim under the owner’s car insurance. There must be a direct connection between the motor vehicle and the dog bite.
Should You Use Your Health Insurance to Pay Your Medical Bills?
It could take you months or longer to settle your claim with the owner’s insurance company if they raise defenses to your claim—which is likely. You do not want to go into your savings to pay your medical bills while waiting for your settlement proceeds.
A better option would be to have your health insurance company pay your medical expense and reimburse them out of your settlement. Your attorney may negotiate an agreement with them to accept less than the full amount paid when they settle your claim with the dog owner’s insurance company.
What Are Your Options if the Dog Owner Has No Insurance?
If the dog owner does not have insurance coverage, it can be more complicated to get your medical bills paid. They would still be liable to pay your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
However, you may need to file a lawsuit against the dog owner to obtain any compensation from them. You would need to understand that they may not have the financial resources to pay you all the damages awarded to you. In addition, depending on their circumstances, they may pay what they owe you in a small payment plan over time that never fully compensates you.
Using your health insurance to pay for medical bills is essential if the dog owner has no insurance and does not have the financial resources to reimburse you for these expenses. It is also important to pursue claims against all potentially liable parties, such as a dog handler, if they were taking care of the dog when you were bitten.
How a Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help You
If you or a family member suffered dog bite injuries, you should retain an experienced personal injury attorney immediately. They will be able to determine what insurance coverage the dog owner or other negligent party has, collect the evidence you need to win your case, and go up against the insurance company to receive the maximum recovery you deserve. They can also help you explore any other avenues of compensation that you may have if the dog owner has no insurance.
At the Injury and Disability Law Center, we understand how challenging it can be to pay your medical bills after a dog attack, especially if you are off work recovering from your injuries. We are here to aggressively pursue your claim with the insurance company. We handle these cases on a contingency fee basis, so you only owe us attorney fees after settling your claim or winning your case at a jury trial. Start a live chat or contact our Roswell office to schedule your free case evaluation today to find out more about how we can assist you.