In many cases where a dog or other animal bites a human, the victim doesn’t want to seek compensation from the owner if, for example, the two are friends. Owners of animals in Illinois, however, are not always the parties who pay for compensation to the victim. Insurance companies may cover the costs of bites, even court fees, meaning the owner doesn’t have to pay anything out of pocket.

Homeowner’s insurance often covers animal bites that occur on the owner’s property. According to the Insurance Information Institute, there are about 16,000 dog bite claims filed every year with an average amount of about $30,000. Some policies may cover much larger amounts. Usually, insurance only covers the first animal bite. Any subsequent bites will be the responsibility of the homeowner.

If an animal bite occurs in or around a vehicle, car insurance or home insurance may cover the costs. Insurance companies will usually debate among themselves about who is liable. Animal owners may also have separate animal insurance when their pet is refused coverage by both home and auto insurance. When an owner doesn’t have any insurance, the victim still has the right to seek compensation.

Victims of a dog bite should consult with a lawyer to see what their optimal course of action is. In many cases, settlements can be reached out of court, but going to trial may be necessary if the responsible parties deny they have any liability. Compensation can be obtained for medical costs, lost wages, rehabilitation, and pain and suffering.