If you are injured, and if the dog has a history of being vicious, and if the owner of the dog has a liability insurance policy, you can receive compensation from the insurance policy rather than from the dog owner personally. You do not have to go after the personal assets of your relative or the owner of the dog that bit you.  You can rely on the money available within the confines of the insurance policy. This is a decision that always remains yours to make, similar to settling a case if an offer is made versus going to trial.