No matter how much a dog bite victim's claim should be worth, because of the severity of the injuries, or their impact on the victim's life, the victim's most reasonable goal is to obtain a policy limits settlement.
A policy limits settlement is a settlement for the maximum indemnification amount and maximum medical expense reimbursement amount under the terms of the liable party's insurance policy(ies). For example, the normal policy limits of a homeowners policy are $100,000 for indemnification and $1,000 for medical expenses.
Here are some pointers about policy limits settlements:
- If the proven value of an injury case with clear liability is a slight bit under, equal to, or greater than the policy limits, an insurance company normally will pay the policy limits if demanded to do so.
- As a practical matter, an injured person should always agree to a policy limits offer, since one cannot even hope to obtain a better result than a policy limits settlement because of the bankruptcy laws.
- If the insurance company ignores or denies a policy limits demand which normally should be accepted by them, the company risks administrative sanctions and, in many states, civil liability, which are additional incentives for the insurance company to pay the policy limits if the injured party so demands.
- If the proven value of an injury case with clear liability is significantly less than the policy limits, or if the value is not sufficiently established or liability is not sufficiently clear, an insurance company will not pay the policy limits. However, the policy limits demand will make the eventual settlement come quicker and often better, in my experience.
- A victim cannot normally obtain a policy limits settlement without an experienced, skillful attorney because insurance companies normally will pay an unrepresented victim only about 10% to 20% of the value of the claim.