Did you know that in 2010, dog bite claims average about $26,000 per dog owner?
That does not include the amount paid from homeowners’ insurance. It means a percentage of the claim would still come from your wallet. This can create a huge dent in your savings account – not to mention future plans. That’s because a good majority of dog bites are not simply minor injuries. Most of them require surgery and/or rehabilitation, which consist of but are not limited to: deep cuts, lacerations, as well as fractures.
As a pet owner, it pays to be familiar with dog bite laws – and how much it can bite off of your bank account.
How Expensive Are Dog Bite Claims?
Although dog bite claims have fallen over the years, it’s become more costly. This is due to rising medical charges as well as judge and jury awards (if the case goes to court). According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), $530 million in homeowners’ insurance liability was paid for dog bites in 2014.
Each of the 16,550 claims last year was worth more or less $32,000 – that’s about 15 percent more than in 2013. The top state with the most dog bite claims is still California, followed by Ohio, and New York. While most homeowners’ insurance covers up to $100,000 in case of dog bites, it still depends on:
- The severity of the injury
- The number of dogs involved
- Your policy type
So it’s not impossible that you will end up taking out a chunk to pay for a settlement out of your own wallet.
What If You Were Bitten
Out of 4.5 million Americans that are bitten each year, only 2 percent of dog bite victims receive compensation for their injuries. Why is that? There are a number of reasons, such as:
- Incident was not reported
- The injury was minor and the victim didn’t want to pursue a claim
- The victim was not aware that he/she can get compensation
If you or a loved one has been bitten or injured by a canine, you must first SEEK MEDICAL attention. This serves two purposes: one, you will be properly assessed for injuries that may not be obvious at first glance; and two, you will get an official record that you can present when you file a claim.
Second, CALL YOUR INSURANCE PROVIDER and ask for assistance. They will send a letter to the dog owner, informing him or her of what happened and the next steps to take.
What If You Are Being Sued
Some cases are complex, and it can be shocking to receive a letter in the mail with a case worth $30 million dollars. If you were the one who received it, give it to your insurance provider. For incidences that are associated while on the job, hand it over to your employer. For dog owners without insurance, defend yourself by gathering evidence on your own (like important witnesses) and appearing in court.
During this time, it’s vital to get professional legal advice from a dog bite attorney. Don’t worry about payments just yet because a lot of lawyers nowadays offer free consultations for all types of clients. Remember to take advantage of that. Whether you are the victim or the defendant, it’s crucial to REMAIN CALM. Dog bites can be life-changing events, but with the right care and support, you can certainly make it through.