In a 2015/2016 survey by the American Pet Products Association, it was estimated that there are about 77.8 million dogs owned in the country. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs each year, with about 885,000 requiring medical attention for those injuries. It was also found that half of those victims were children.
Homeowner’s insurance policies usually pay for dog attacks occurring on or off of the dog owner’s property. There are some states, however, where homeowner’s insurance policies do not cover attacks for certain breeds of dogs, especially those that are categorized as dangerous (e.g., pit bulls), according to the Insurance Information Institute (III). THIS IS NOT THE CASE IN PENNSYLVANIA.
How Many Claims Were Filed in 2015?
Dog bites and associated injuries accounted for more than one-third of homeowner’s insurance claims filed in 2015. It cost more than $750 million, according to the III. This analysis also found that dog injury claims decreased by 7.2 percent for 2015, with the average claim cost up by 16 percent.
The average cost paid out for a dog bite case was $37,215 for 2015. This was due to an increase in medical costs nationwide, as well as the increase in judgment awards. California saw the highest number of claims at 1,684, while Illinois came in second with 931 total claims. The average cost of the claims in the top three states was $56,654.
Pennsylvania was listed as one of the top 10 states for number and cost of dog bite claims for 2015. In 2015, Pennsylvania saw 794 claims filed with homeowner’s insurance policies (this amount doesn’t include automobile insurance claims or personal injury lawsuits filed against owners), and the average cost per claim was $30,509. The value of those claims totaled $24.2 million.
Why Dog Bite Claims Cost So Much
A dog bite claim can cost an insurer significantly, but nothing compares to the emotional and physical trauma that a victim suffers following an attack. Dog bites are especially vicious. They a leave a victim permanently scarred and disfigured. Often, they require reconstructive surgery (and multiple surgeries) to help the victim recover. In some cases, victims may suffer infections or have to receive rabies shots because of a rabid dog attack.
Worse, there is the emotional trauma associated with these incidents. Even if the victim didn’t suffer long-term disfigurement, he or she may suffer permanent emotional scarring. The victim may have anxiety or depression, a fear of leaving home, and may suffer from night terrors or more.
Were You Injured by a Vicious Dog Attack? Contact Jeffrey H. Penneys, Esq. Now
If you or a loved one was injured by a dog attack, you have options for compensation. Even if the dog’s owner does not have adequate insurance coverage, you can file a claim against the owner him or herself. To explore your options for compensation, contact Jeffrey H. Penneys, Esq. at 215-771-0430 (cell) or 215-987-3550 (office). You can also request a free consultation through our online contact form.