How do I pay my medical bills after a dog bite?

Aggressive Dog Lunging at a ParkYou could suffer serious injuries if bitten by a dog and may worry about how to pay your mounting medical bills. Fortunately, you may be able to seek reimbursement of your medical expenses from the dog’s owner in Virginia. Here are the common options that dog bite victims have for recovering the cost of their medical treatments.

Ways to Get Your Medical Expenses Paid After a Dog Bite

Under Virginia’s dog bite laws, you are entitled to be compensated for your injuries caused by a dog attack if you can show that the dog owner knew or should have known that their dog is aggressive or dangerous. If you can prove this, you have several options to recover reimbursement of your medical bills, such as:

  • Homeowner’s insurance. If the dog’s owner has a homeowner insurance policy, it would most likely cover injuries caused by the dog’s owner. However, some policies will exclude coverage if the dog is a dangerous breed or has aggressive tendencies.
  • Animal liability insurance. If the dog’s owner purchased animal liability insurance, you could file a claim with this insurance company for reimbursement of your medical bills. They would be responsible for compensating you up to the policy’s insurance limits.
  • Car insurance. You may be able to file a claim with the owner’s car insurance company if the dog attacked you while you were in the dog owner’s vehicle or the dog jumped out of the window and bit you
  • Dog owner. If the dog’s owner had no insurance or insufficient insurance to fully pay your medical bills, you could still hold them responsible for compensating you. However, you need to realize that they may not have the financial resources to pay you all the damages you are entitled to or may have to pay you in small monthly payments.

Should You Submit Your Medical Bills to Your Health Insurance Provider?

Even if the dog’s owner has insurance coverage to compensate you for your injuries, settling your claim with their insurance company could take a long time. In the meantime, you still owe your medical bills to your health care providers. You do not want them to refer your account to a collection agency, report the bills on your credit report, or sue you.

The best way to avoid these problems is to submit your bills to your health insurance provider if you have health insurance coverage so that your medical bills are paid. However, they may place a lien on your settlement that must be paid when you receive your payment from the dog owner’s insurance company.

Were you bitten by a dog in the Virginia Beach or Norfolk area? Do you have other questions about paying your medical bills? Call our Norfolk office at 877-960-3441 or complete our online form to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation today with our experienced premises liability attorneys to learn how we can assist you.