Insurers are reporting an increase in the number of dog bite claims as well as the cost of these claims in 2011. According to the Insurance Information Institute, dog bites cost the insurance industry more than $478 million last year.
In 2010, the industry had paid out $412.6 million in claims. What has spurred this increase in costs has been an increase in the cost of the average claim. According to industry experts, the cost of the average dog bite claim in the United States jumped 12% to a total value of $29,396.
Much of the increase was due to higher medical costs associated with these bites. A dog bite can last just a few seconds, but many dog bites can be devastating in their impact. Victims may require not just emergency treatment in the hospital, but, in many cases, will also require hospitalization. Apart from this, there are the costs of cosmetic surgery and facial restoration when victims have suffered a devastating dog bite. Many dog bites involving children, for instance, involve the face, neck, and head region, and may necessitate restorative surgery. Dog bite costs paid out by insurers also increased due to settlements with plaintiffs and jury awards.
According to the Insurance Information Institute, dog bite attacks accounted for more than one third of all home insurer liability payouts made by the industry. Last year, dog bite victims filed a total of 16,292 dog bite claims. That was a decline from 2003 when the Insurance Information Institute first began listing the data, but the cost of the average claim has increased 50% since 2003.
As Thousand Oaks dog bite lawyers see however, the causes of most dog bites have not changed over the years. Most dog bites involve animals that attack as a result of irresponsible dog ownership, shoddy or poor training and poor breeding practices.