Legal Question in Personal Injury in California

Homeowners Insurance Liability

My daughter was bit by a neighbors dog on thier property. We are filing aclaim against the Home Owners Insurance. Besides the cost of the hospital bill,will they pay pain and suffering? If we hav to sue the owner of thedog in small claims for pain and suffering what amount do we ask for?

Thank you very much.


Asked on 11/08/01, 12:10 pm

6 Answers from Attorneys


Re: Homeowners Insurance Liability

Dear J. Wagner:

If you are already making a claim against the homeowners' insurance company, your daughter's claim should include medical bills and pain and suffering. There would be no reason to sue the dog owner separately in Small Claims court which by the way in California, is only limited to $5,000.00.

It is impossible for me to advise you what the value of your daughter's claim is since I do not know the nature and extent of her injuries, her medical bills, what scarring she has or what future meidcal care she will need.

Some of these claims can be complicated and you probably should be represented by a personal injury attorney who has experience in dog bite claims. If you are in the Orange County area, I would be glad to provide you with a free consultation. Please contact me at (714) 963-5123; my address is: SAM M. EAGLE, 10101 SLATER AVENUE, SUITE #218, FOUNTAIN VALLEY, CA 92708

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Answered on 11/19/01, 8:01 pm
John Bisnar Bisnar & Chase, LLP

Re: Homeowners Insurance Liability

Not only is your daughter entitled to "pain & suffering" compensation, she is entitled to compensation for any scar that she may have and any family member that watched in incident is entitled to compensation. If your daughter received stitches, her claim is worth much more than the small claims limit of $5,000. I suggest that you have a consultation with an lawyer highly experienced in dog bite matters in order that you can get a professional evaluation of your daughter's claim. A law firm experienced in these matters can recover multipule times what a claimant themselves can recover and much more than attorneys that are not as experienced in this particualr field. Get a free consultation from a dog bite expert plaintiff's law firm before making any decisions and before speaking any further with the insurance company.

Take a look at the information presented on our website, and/or call me for a free consultation. I am interested in your daughter's case.

The bottom line is, what will the net recovery be for your daughter. With the right law firm, the amount of money going to your daughter will be a great deal higher than if you handle the matter yourself in almost all cases. With the right law firm, they will tell you when you are better off representing yourself and when you are better off hiring a law firm. And if they believe that you are better off on your own, they will usually assit you in handling it yourself (we do).

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Answered on 11/18/01, 10:03 pm
Bryan McCormack McCormack & Erlich, LLP

Re: Homeowners Insurance Liability

California has specific statutes regarding dog bites. Your daughter is entitled to damages including medical bills and pain and suffering. The amount of pain and suffering depends on several factors including the extent of the injury, whether there is a permanent scar, the total medical bills, etc. Please feel free to contact me to discuss.

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Answered on 11/16/01, 4:11 pm
Jeffrey Zinder Zinder & Koch

Re: Homeowners Insurance Liability

Your neighbors are responsible for all medical bills and reasonable pain and suffering damages. The claim against the Homeowners insurance should include all amounts. The insurance company may ask that you sign a release which would preclude you from first getting the medical bills paid and then liability damages, unless they are paying under the premises medical portion of the policy. BE CAREFUL if you are given anything to sign in exchange for the payment of the medical expenses. There is no rule as to the amount that is reasonable for pain and suffering and it depends upons whether there is any permanent scarring or other life long injuries.

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Answered on 11/16/01, 4:17 pm
Jonathan Colman Jonthan H. Colman and Associates

Re: Homeowners Insurance Liability

Your daughter is entitled to pain and suffering which might exceed the limit of small claims court. Also, if she is under 18, the court will have to approve any settlement. Be cautious re: potential scarring, as the extent may not yet be known. There is no rush to resolve at this point.

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Answered on 11/16/01, 5:19 pm
Russell Kohn Kohn Law Office

Re: Homeowners Insurance Liability

The amount to demand for pain and suffering will vary depending on the extent of the injury involved. Will she have a permanent scar? Did she have much pain? Did treatment require any surgery? How deep was the bite? Did any nerves get injured? Will she need plastic surgery? How were her activities effected? The answers to these questions are needed for a valuation of fair compensation. Also, the insurance company may require any sizeable settlement of a minor's claim first be approved by the court, which requires a petition be prepared and filed. You also need to know how to negotiate the claim value. There are differences in value from County to County due to the makeup of the jury pools, that should be factored in.

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Answered on 11/16/01, 10:06 pm

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