A critical aspect to making a recovery in any case—and certainly a dog bite case—is finding insurance coverage. The hard truth is that even though the dog owner is responsible for the victim’s damages regardless of insurance, without insurance policy to pursue, making a recovery is extremely difficult. Homeowners insurance and renters insurance are the two most common types of coverage for dog bite damages.
Unlike automobile accidents, there is no mechanism in place to force the dog owner to prove the existence of insurance. A majority of the time, insurance coverage is located by contacting the dog owner directly. A letter of representation sent to the dog owner on behalf of the victim of the dog bite requesting any and all insurance information is the first step in this process.
A Lawsuit Can Unearth Difficult-to-Find Insurance Policies
Sometimes it’s necessary to file a lawsuit against the dog owner in an attempt to flush out insurance coverage. The existence of property liens, specifically mortgages, can be searched. If there is a mortgage on the property it is safe to assume there is homeowner’s insurance and a lawsuit will usually uncover the applicable insurance policy in these scenarios.
Renters insurance is almost always necessary when the dog owner is leasing the property. There may very well be insurance on the property through the landlord, but making a recovery from the landlord’s insurance policy is a difficult task. Indiana law severely restricts landlord liability for the actions of a renter’s dog.