Dog bite attacks often happen in the blink of an eye. Perhaps you just showed up at a co-worker’s home to work on a presentation, only to have their large dog come charging at you from the side yard. Maybe you entered a business that allows the owner’s dog on the property, and it immediately took a dislike to you for no discernible reason.

If the dog suddenly becomes aggressive, you can wind up with significant injuries and expenses. Ideally, the property owner of the home or business where you got hurt by a dog bite attack will have an insurance policy that covers their liability and protect you from those financial losses.

Unfortunately, if their dog is among the so-called restricted or dangerous breeds listed by their insurance company, there may not actually be insurance protection for you after that attack.

Many insurance companies won’t cover certain breeds of dogs

As anyone who has known big dogs can tell you, the behavior of an animal is often more of a reflection of how their owners treat them than of inherent characteristics related to their breed. Unfortunately, certain breeds have a cultural association with fighting or defense, which greatly increases the risk that humans will train them to be aggressive.

Additionally, certain dogs have instinctual behaviors that they engage in during an attack that might make them more dangerous than other species. Dogs that go straight for the throat during an attack are much more likely to cause life-threatening or deadly injuries than a dog that bites someone on the leg or hand.

Insurance companies, having reviewed years of collected dog bite statistics, sometimes place restrictions on insurance coverage for specific breeds, including Pit Bull Terriers, wolf-dog hybrids, Dobermans, Huskies and German Shepards.

If there isn’t insurance, a lawsuit may be the only option

In some cases, insurance will cover prohibited breeds, although the policyholder will likely have to pay a premium for that extra protection. If they don’t report the ownership of the animal or pay for additional coverage based on the dangerous breed designation, the insurance company could deny your claim for compensation.

When a dog owner doesn’t have the right insurance in place to protect a victim from the financial consequences of a dog bite attack, you shouldn’t get left dealing with financial hardship due to their lack of preparation or oversight. Even if it is someone you know or work with, your only option for recouping your losses may be to file a civil lawsuit against the dog’s owner.