Service Animals and Dog Attacks – This is Not Just a Property Damage Claim
Helpful Tips for Dog Bite Victims
Tragically, we are receiving more and more calls from victims of dog attacks where their service and/or emotional support animals are wounded or killed during the attack on their owner. This is tragic for obvious reasons, but these cases are much more complicated from a legal and factual basis than one might think.
First, we have to consider why the victim has an emotional support dog or service animal in their life. We have represented people who are disabled, victims of abuse, have PTSD, and a host of other reasons why they need a service animal to survive. The loss of these animals in particular is tremendous both in losing a close companion and in no longer being able to rely on them for help. It is not surprising that insurance carriers do not care about these animals and treat them exclusively as a property damage claim. Insurance carrier simply think they owe the replacement cost of a dog similar to the replacement cost of your totaled vehicle in a car accident. They are wrong and we are happy to litigate this issue with them every single time. The loss of enjoyment of life, pain and suffering, and inconvenience damages associated with losing an assistance dog are incredibly substantial and you need the right attorney to handle this case.
Second, we have to consider what law applies to the personal injury case as some of these animals are protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This means in some instances that insurance carriers can’t reduce the liability coverage available to the victims of the attack or otherwise enforce specific clauses in their insurance policies because they violate the ADA and are not enforceable.
Lastly, there is certainly an economic component to losing a service and/or emotional support animal that must be addressed. The cost of the animal, countless hours of training prior to service, countless hours of on the job training for your specific issue, and having to repeat all of this again are damages that must be presented in your case.
These are not nominal injury cases and are incredibly important to both our clients and our law firm. We love animals and are devastated when our clients experience this loss due to irresponsible dog owners not caring for their animals in a reasonable and responsible manner. These cases are avoidable and we appreciate every opportunity to hold irresponsible dog owners accountable for their decisions and the damages they cause. Feel free to call or email us with any questions you may have and we are happy to help you in any way possible.