Owners Concerns and Dog Bite Insurance Settlements

Most dog owners realize that he or she can assume serious financial liability if their dog bites someone. Dog bite litigation can be expensive, and with medical costs constantly rising, dog bite insurance settlements, for those who have insurance, can be costly. Dog bites account for about one-third of all homeowner insurance liability claims annually, costing nearly $500 million according to the Insurance Information Institute.

The increases can be attributed to increased costs for medical treatment, as well as the size of settlements, judgments and jury awards given to plaintiffs. An extremely large judgment could have quite a devastating effect. Any person found liable could literally lose their home, which is why homeowners insurance without protection for dog owners just doesn’t make sense.

Young children often victims of dog bite injuries

Dogs bite more than 4.7 million people in the US annually, and nearly 900,000 of those require medical care. Sadly, nearly half of the victims are children, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and of those injured, over 390,000 require treatment in an emergency room.

The rate of injuries caused by dogs is highest for children aged five to nine years old, with most attacks occurring to the head or neck area, and statistics show that injury rates in children are significantly higher for boys than for girls, boys being more aggressive around dogs.

Dog owner liability fits into three categories

The three kinds of laws that impose liability on owners are 1) dog-bite statute, wherein the dog owner is automatically liable for any injury or property damage the dog causes, even without provocation. 2) Negligence laws state the dog owner is liable if the injury occurred because he or she was unreasonably careless in controlling the dog, and 3) the “one-bite” rule, which applies only in some states, says that the owner is not held liable for the first bite the dog inflicts. Once an animal has demonstrated vicious behavior, such as biting or otherwise displaying a ‘vicious propensity’, the owner can then be held liable.

With liability issues a serious concern for owners and victims alike, and with all that might be at stake, dog owners need to purchase this vital insurance to deal with any dog bite settlements and claims resulting from their dog’s behavior.


Dangerous Dog Insurance for Owners of Aggressive Pets

Did you know that dog bites occur to more than 4 million Americans every year? Nearly one out of every five of those bites causes an injury requiring medical attention, this according to the Centers for Disease Control. Young children are the most frequent victims of dog attacks and are much more likely than adults to be injured by their wounds. Dogs considered to be dangerous due to their breeding are often the cause of attacks due to their aggressive nature.

While strays and other strange dogs can be responsible, most people are actually bitten by the family pet or a dog owned by a friend. Owners of these more aggressive animals need coverage, although some insurers are afraid of the risks involved. Still, there are companies willing to dispense dangerous dog insurance to aid those who are fond of these types of breeds.

Ways in which owners can help to prevent dog bites

When shopping for a new pet it’s important to choose a dog with a good temperament as a family pet. If you’re in the process of training the dog you should never leave young children alone with your pet. During training, try to discourage the dog from biting as a response to being approached, and whenever approaching someone while walking your dog, give the dog a command to heal or stay, particularly if the animal begins to growl. If your dog becomes aggressive, restrain the dog until the other person has walked past.

In the event your dog does bite or scratch someone it’s probably a good idea to provide first aid whenever possible. Dog bites can cause infections that need to be treated with antibiotics, especially if the bite is deep, or the bleeding can’t be stopped, or there are any signs of infection.

The proper care for a dog bite injury includes placing a clean towel over the injury to stop any bleeding, washing the bite carefully with soap and water, applying antibiotic ointment to the injury when possible, and applying a sterile bandage to the wound. For more serious injuries, after dressing the wound the victim should see a doctor immediately.

Owning a dog with an aggressive nature or a breed considered to be overtly aggressive, such as a pit bull or Rottweiler, means additional concerns when an incident occurs. Owners should seek a quote for dangerous dog insurance coverage as soon as possible, which will be necessary in the event your dog does cause an unfortunate injury.

Dog Bite Insurance Can Save You Money

As most dog owners fully realize, they will likely be sued if their dog ends up biting someone, especially if it leads to an injury claim. After all, these types of claims occur all of the time, and typically account for more than a third of all dog bite insurance liability claims paid out. This is according to the Insurance Information Institute (III), and they keep this type of information on record for public knowledge.

That statistic seems fairly consistent, as it has been over the last decade or so, according to III. They’ve also reported that the number of claims averages around 15,000 to 16,000 annually over that same period of time, and with the average cost of a claim running in the tens of thousands of dollars or more (due to the increase in medical costs), it’s important for all pet owners to carry dog bite insurance to aid in the costs for these injuries.

Ways to prevent dog attacks

The last thing you want is to be sued because your pet bit someone, inadvertently or otherwise. And let’s face it, no one wants to become the victim of a dog bite. Choices as to the type of dog you buy factors into this, though no one can tell you what type of dog you can own. However, proper training can really help in the prevention of dog attacks. We suggest that you have your dog spayed or neutered, and seek professional advice if your dog develops any type of aggressive behavior. Also, discouraging children from bothering your dog when it is eating or sleeping is extremely important.

Avoid becoming a victim to a dog that is a threat

To avoid becoming a potential victim, we urge others to never approach a strange dog, especially one that’s tethered on a leash. Avoid making eye contact with a dog that appears threatening, since many dogs can sense fear. You shouldn’t run past any strange dogs, so either turn and walk back the other way or cross the street.

Owners and pedestrians should keep these safety tips in mind since they can reduce the odds of a dog attack, but all dog owners need to invest in dog bite insurance. Speak to a reputable agent today and protect your many valuable assets.


State Laws and Liability Dog Insurance Issues

There are certain laws that determine dog bite liability, and these of course vary from state to state. Dog owners need to know exactly what the liability issues are in whichever state they live. Basically, there are two kinds of laws: liability when the owner of the dog knows (or should know) that the dog might be prone to biting someone, and then there is liability regardless of what the owner knew or should have known. Having liability dog insurance helps pay for any damages.

”One Bite” laws work to the dog owners’ advantage

The “One Bite” law is applied in about 40% of the states in the US. Generally stated, it once meant that a dog was allowed “one excused bite” before its owner wound up in legal trouble. Now, however, the one bite rule doesn’t necessarily allow a dog to bite someone without consequence. If an owner knows the particular breed is dangerous, the owner could be liable for that first time that an incident occurs.

The owner simply must take necessary precautions, all the more true based on his or her knowledge of the animal. For example, a dog that is prone to snapping at people should always be restrained. The owner could also be held liable if someone approaches the dog, is not properly warned about the animal’s aggressive behavior, and is subsequently bitten.

The dog’s breed, how the owner went about training the dog, how the owner typically restrained the dog under necessary circumstances, and for what purpose the owner bought the dog, for example, protection, could all be used in determining if there is a viable case against the owner of the dog.

“Strict Liability” dog bite laws

The majority of states have enacted “dog bite” statutes that provide specific rules for dog bite liability cases. “Strict liability” means that the defendant is held liable in the event that a specific event occurs, and this may be regardless of whether or not the defendant could have done anything to prevent the event from occurring.

As the owner of a dog that may be prone to biting or attacking, you should carry sufficient liability dog insurance. Because, in a court of law, if the plaintiff did not provoke the dog in any way, and was within his right to be located where he was at the time of the attack, then the defendant would be liable for the dog biting this person.