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Dog Bite Insurance Payouts Increase In Senior & Children Cases

Youngest Children More At Risk for Dog Bites

Insurance companies’ costs for dog attacks increased in 2014 as medical costs increased in incidents involving vulnerable victims such as children and the elderly.

According to a Bloomberg news report, the average cost per claim increased to $32,072 in 2014 from $27,862 a year earlier.

The numbers came from the Insurance Information Institute and State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company.

More Severe Injuries Reported

Dog bite injuries cost the insurance industry about $531 million last year accounting for more than one third of insurers’ expenses for homeowners’ liability.

Larger awards in civil lawsuits contributed to the increase as did the medical expenses to treat the wounds.

Insurance industry experts say the trend in higher costs per claim can be attributed not simply to dog bites, but also to the severity of the injuries.

When dogs knock down children, the elderly, pedestrians or cyclists, there is more of a chance for serious injuries such as broken bones and blunt-force injuries that could increase the potential severity of the losses.

California Leads in Claims

The report also states that California had the largest number of dog bite claims in 2014 followed by Ohio. New York State had the highest average cost per attack at $56,628.

The U.S. Postal Service reported that 5,767 employees were attacked by dogs in 2014. Los Angeles had the most attacks, with 74, while Houston was second with 62.

Under California law, dog owners can be held financially responsible for the injuries, damages and losses their pets cause.

California’s Civil Code Section 3342 states: “The owner of any dog is liable for the damages suffered by any person who is bitten by the dog while in a public place or lawfully in a private place, including the property of the owner of the dog, regardless of the former viciousness of the dog or the owner’s knowledge of such viciousness.”

Injured victims of dog attacks can seek compensation for damages including medical expenses, lost wages, hospitalization, rehabilitation, permanent injury such as scarring, pain and suffering and emotional distress.

Injured victims would be well advised to contact an experienced California personal injury attorney who will hold the wrongdoers accountable.

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