HOW TO MAKE A UTAH DOG BITE INJURY CLAIM. CALL/TXT INJURY ATTORNEY JAKE GUNTER (801) 373-6345.
See this short video on top three things to do after a dog bite incident.
FIRST. DOCUMENT THE CLAIM.
Many times you are bit at the park, in the front yard or in the apartment complex where you live. You need to document who the dog owner is. Often the dog owner just disappears and leaves the scene.
Take pictures of your injuries. The dog and the dog owner and his identification. This way the police can track down the person for a dog-at-large violation if needed.
Call the police and get the dog attach claim documented.
SECOND. DOCUMENT THE INJURY.
If time allowed you first to document the claim, you should immediately seek appropriate medical care. This could be the Instacare, ER or your family physician if you can get into their office.
Take photos of the bite as they heal to show the insurance adjuster that this real and how it affected you. You should date stamp these if you can by placing newspapers dating, a cell phone or just remembering when you took the picture.
THIRD. HIRE A PROVO, UT DOG BITE ATTORNEY.
Hiring a Utah dog bite attorney to handle your claim will speed up an already frustrating process. A working injury attorney who regularly handles insurance cases will immediately be able to find insurance or a settlement.
Homeowners’ Insurance. People who own their own homes 99.9 percent of the time have homeowners’ insurance. First, if the homeowner still has a mortgage on the home, the bank will pay it and require it. If the home is fully paid off, any smart homeowner will still have premise liability insurance coverages. If the home is paid off and they don’t have insurance, the dog owner is really stupid because you will sell their home to satisfy any judgment if it goes that far.
Breed Exclusions from Homeowners’ Insurance. There can be breed exclusions in the homeowner’s policy of insurance. There is no substitute for reading the actual insurance policy to determine if a breed exclusion is applicable.
Renters’ Insurance. When people own dogs in apartments or rented homes, the renters can sometimes have renters’ insurance to cover a dog bite. Often they don’t have renters’ insurance.
No Liability Insurance. If we are dealing with a renter who doesn’t have insurance or a homeowner with a paid off house, but no insurance, often you will not have a claim unless the dog owner has personal assets to satisfy the injury claim.
The homeowner with a fully paid off home will have the assets and any judgement rendered can be attached to the home and even sell the home to satisfy the judgement. Yes there is a Utah homestead, but the Utah homestead exemption only protects the first $42,000 in their primary residence and $5,000 in real property that is not their primary residence. If the dog owner decides to file bankruptcy with a fully paid off house, they will be in a Chapter 13 and have a very long 5 year repayment plan because of all the unexempt equity in the fully paid off home. See the Utah Exemptions Act, 78B-5-503 (2023).
Bottom Line on Dog Bite Injury Claims Without Insurance.
(1). If the person doesn’t have renter’s insurance, you will likely not get any compensation.
(2). If the person doesn’t have homeowners’ insurance, but has a fully paid off house, they will pay, but it will take longer because you will have to force the sale of their house.
Dog Owner Refusing to Produce Homeowners’ Insurance Information. See Rule 26(a)(1)(D).
This is frustrating in dog bite cases where the owner refuses to produce their insurance information. The problem is that any defendant in a civil case must produce all insurance information pursuant to Utah Rule of Civil Procedure 26(a)(1)(D).
Rule 26 reads:
(D) a copy of any agreement under which any person may be liable to satisfy part or all of a judgment or to indemnify or reimburse for payments made to satisfy the judgment;
If the dog owner refuses to cough up their insurance information you will have to sue them to make them disclose it. Most of the time this works.
Title Report when Refusing to Provide Insurance.
You can do a quick real property search to determine if the dog owner owns the property. If they own the property then you can check if a mortgage is recorded against the property. If there is a mortgage, then you know there will be homeowner’s insurance to help pay compensation for your injuries caused by the dog (unless a breed exclusion applies). You can also pay for a title report to see who owns the land and what mortgage are recorded.