Each year, over 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs, and homeowners insurance companies have taken notice. Nearly 900,000 of these cases require medical attention, so some of these companies are now refusing coverage to those who own certain dog breeds.
The Numbers Increase
Children under the age of 14 account for 42% of those who receive emergency medical treatment because of dogs and 70% of fatal dog bites. Not all children recognize the dangers and are more likely to approach a dog.
In 2015, dog bites and related injuries accounted for over one-third of all homeowners insurance liability claims. Though the number of actual dog bite claims in the U.S. decreased in 2015, the average cost per claim increased by around 16 percent. The average pay-out for a dog bite claim was over $37,000.
Nationally, the average cost per claim has risen over 94 percent during a 12 year period starting in 2003. This is due to increased medical costs and larger settlements. California had the highest number of dog bite claims in 2015 and Illinois came in second, with 931. In Illinois, $31.1 million dollars was paid out to dog injury victims.
Bites were not the only injury that caused these high numbers. Injuries such as dogs knocking down children or the elderly were also included in these statistics.
Reducing the Risk of Dog Bites
When a dog bites, the injured party may consult with an Illinois dog bite lawyer and the owner may be found liable. Understanding why dogs bite can help to prevent serious injuries.
Setting basic rules regarding dogs can help parents decrease the risk of dog related injuries. Certain dogs should also be kept in a separate room when children visit. Chained dogs are also more likely to bite, so dogs should never be left chained or tethered to trees, fences or other stationary objects.
Certain breeds are more likely to bite. According to the Centers for Disease Control, Pit Bulls, Rottweilers, German Shepherds, Doberman Pinschers, Chow Chows, Malamutes and Huskies top the list of dogs most prone to biting. Male dogs are also responsible for a majority of bites. Neutered dogs bite less frequently than those who have not been neutered. Many insurance companies will no longer insure homeowners that keep these types of dogs, or any other dog considered to be a liability risk as a pet.