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The cost of dog bites: A stark look at bites in America

Law Offices of James M. Curran

Did you know that the average cost of a dog bite claim is $32,072? That might seem alarmingly high, but you need to consider that a dog bite can end up requiring surgery and may significantly impact a person’s ability to work.

According to data from the Insurance Information Institute, a third of all homeowner’s insurance liability claim dollars were paid out for dog bites in 2014. In 2017, close to 350,000 people were treated for non-fatal injuries from dog bites and other causes related to interactions with dogs. Claims topped $675 million in 2018.  These statistics and facts just highlight how serious dog bites really are and how often they happen.

The states with the highest number of bite claims were California, Ohio and New York. These claims didn’t just get filed when a dog bit, but also when a dog knocked someone down or caused injuries of other types.

April 12 to 18 were the dates for this year’s National Dog Bite Prevention Week. Every year, the focus of this important week is to educate people about the risks of living, working and interacting with dogs. The goal is to help people recognize the signs of a dog that is uncomfortable and to help prevent bites.

What can you do to prevent bites?

The three most important things to do are to encourage responsible pet ownership, such as taking a dog to the vet when it’s sick and using a leash, education (so people know how to interact with dogs safely) and avoiding risky situations, such as approaching an unknown dog. By taking these steps, you will minimize the risk to yourself and others.

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