California Leads in Dog Bites

According to an article on the LA Times, California leads the nation in the number of dog bite insurance claims in 2013. A dubious honor, but what can you do?

It was reported by State Farm and the Insurance Information Institute (III) that 1,919 insurance claims were filed in California, costing insurers a hefty $64.7 million in payouts, averaging $33,000 per claim. Second place goes to New York with 965 dog bite claims at a cost of $41.6 million. Dogs are considered man’s best friends, but some insurance companies may disagree.

Nationwide, the number of insurance claims for dog bites increased 5.5% in 2013, costing insurance companies $484 million, representing about 35% of homeowners’ insurance total liability costs. But the statistics may be misleading as these figures include claims for non-bite dog attacks such knocking down, scratching, or scaring a person. The III states that the average cost of a claim increased 45% compared to 10 years ago mainly because of higher medical costs but also because the size of settlements or awards are significantly higher.

It is easy to dismiss these numbers as the hysterical reactions of a populace that has become paranoid about animal attacks, but according to the website of Habush Habush & Rottier S.C. ®, the truth is dog bites can result in serious, even deadly injuries. Aside from the physical and psychological trauma and possible complications like infections, dog bite victims often have to live with long-term complications such as extensive scarring and disfigurement, loss of limbs and other permanent damage. All these have a concurrent cost to you and your family.

If you have been seriously injured in a dog bite or animal attack incident in California, you have a right to sue the owner for compensatory damages. Consult with a dog bite lawyer in California to find out if your case meets the requirements for a civil lawsuit.

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