Everyone knows the most common causes of homeowners’ insurance claims: fire, robbery, natural disaster, and so on. Not as many would expect dog bites to appear high on that list. However, according to the Insurance Information Institute, dog bites are right in the mix as far as premises liability claims go, even ranking ahead of hurricane claims.
According to the data, the average cost of a dog bite claim settlement was nearly $59,400, and roughly 16,300 such claims were filed in the United States in 2011 alone. In fact, dog bites accounted for more than one-third of the liability claim costs paid in 2011 on behalf of homeowners’ insurance policy owners.
In general, these settlements cover not only the medical bills resulting from the dog attack, but also the pain and suffering that victims of dog bites endured.
Interestingly, Missouri was ranked 13th nationally among U.S. states for the number of dog bite claims filed with all Insurance comapnies in 2011. Those claims were settled for an average amount of $44,000.
That year, there were 270 reported dog bites in St Louis County alone. So far this year, there have already been 155 reported dog bites.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 4.5 million dog bites occur in the United States every year. About 850,000 bites of these bites require medical attention.
It’s extremely important to remember how truly devastating dog bites can be and to not just dismiss premises liability lawsuits against dog owners as “frivolous.”
Victims routinely suffer lacerations and puncture wounds necessitating several rounds of surgery. In fact, sometimes the best efforts of surgeons are not enough to prevent nerve damage and permanent disfigurement. Furthermore, victims can be left with psychological scars from the attack that can take years to heal.