Dog bite incidents can cause physical and emotional trauma to victims, and they often result in legal disputes seeking compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages. In Maryland, these claims involve insurance companies, which play a significant role in the process of resolving such cases. Understanding the requirements and procedures involved is crucial for victims and their legal representatives. In this article, we will explore the role of insurance companies in Maryland dog bite claims and provide insights into the necessary steps to seek fair compensation.
Insurance Requirements in Maryland
Maryland law recognizes the potential dangers posed by dog bites and holds dog owners responsible for the actions of their pets. The state has specific requirements for dog owners to ensure victims have access to compensation. One such requirement is that dog owners must carry liability insurance coverage.
According to Maryland law, dog owners must have a minimum liability insurance coverage of $100,000 for injuries or damages caused by their dogs. This insurance coverage is essential as it provides a source of compensation for victims in dog bite cases. Without insurance, victims may find it challenging to recover their damages fully.
Filing an Insurance Claim
When a dog bite occurs, the victim or their legal representative can file an insurance claim with the dog owner’s insurance company. It is crucial to initiate this process as soon as possible to ensure timely evaluation and compensation. The following steps outline the general process of filing an insurance claim for a dog bite in Maryland:
Gather Information: Collect all pertinent information related to the incident, including photographs, medical records, witness statements, and any other evidence that supports your claim.
Identify the Insurance Company: Determine the dog owner’s insurance company and policy details. This information can often be obtained from the dog owner directly or through a legal professional.
Notify the Insurance Company: Contact the insurance company to inform them of the incident and provide them with the necessary details of the claim. Be prepared to provide a detailed account of the incident and the resulting injuries.
Investigation and Evaluation: The insurance company will initiate an investigation into the incident, which may include gathering additional information, reviewing medical records, and assessing liability. They will evaluate the claim to determine the extent of the damages and the potential compensation amount.
Negotiation and Settlement: Once the evaluation is complete, the insurance company may present a settlement offer. It is crucial to have legal representation during this stage to ensure your rights are protected and that you receive fair compensation. Your attorney will negotiate on your behalf to achieve the best possible outcome.
Dealing with Insurance Companies
While insurance companies are obligated to provide compensation in dog bite cases, it is important to understand that their primary goal is to minimize their financial liability. As a result, they may employ various strategies to reduce the amount they pay out. Some common tactics include:
Challenging Liability: Insurance companies may dispute liability by arguing that the victim provoked the dog or acted negligently, thereby attempting to shift blame and reduce the compensation amount.
Underestimating Damages: Insurance adjusters may undervalue the physical, emotional, and financial damages caused by the dog bite. They may attempt to settle the claim for an amount that does not adequately cover the victim’s losses.
Delaying the Process: Insurance companies may intentionally prolong the claims process, hoping that the victim will give up or accept a lower settlement due to financial pressure or frustration.
Seeking Legal Representation
Given the complexities involved in dealing with insurance companies, it is highly recommended to seek legal representation from experienced personal injury attorneys specializing in dog bite cases. An attorney can provide invaluable guidance and advocate for your rights throughout the claims process. They will:
Handle Communication: Your attorney will communicate and negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf, ensuring that your rights are protected and that your claim is presented effectively.
Accurately Assess Damages: An experienced attorney will help assess the full extent of your damages, including medical expenses, future medical care, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other relevant factors. They will fight for fair compensation that adequately covers your losses.
Litigation Support: If a fair settlement cannot be reached through negotiation, your attorney will be prepared to take your case to court and represent you during litigation.
How Alpert Schreyer, LLC Can Help You with Dog Bites in Maryland
Dealing with insurance companies can be a challenging and overwhelming process, especially when seeking compensation for dog bite injuries. At Alpert Schreyer, LLC, we understand the complexities of Maryland’s dog bite laws and have a strong track record of successfully representing dog bite victims. Our team of experienced personal injury attorneys is committed to fighting for your rights and ensuring you receive the compensation you deserve.
If you or a loved one have been a victim of a dog bite in Maryland, contact us today to schedule a free consultation. We will review your case, explain your legal options, and provide guidance on the best course of action. Remember, time is of the essence when filing an insurance claim, so don’t delay in seeking the legal representation you need to protect your rights and seek fair compensation.
Together, let us fight for justice and hold dog owners and their insurance companies accountable for their responsibilities in Maryland dog bite claims.