The cost of insurance claims for dog-bite injuries went up 45 percent over the last 10 years, reaching $483 million in 2013, according to a recent analysis of claims by the Insurance Information Institute and State Farm. The report says claims have gone up because of higher medical costs and bigger settlements, judgments and jury awards for people seriously injured by dogs.
The New York State Department of Health reports that 6,600 children under 20 receive hospital treatment each year for dog bites, and 200 are hospitalized because the bites are so severe.
Most dog bites take place at home or in familiar surroundings and that most dogs that bite belong to the victim’s family, friends or neighbors. Children are also likely to be bitten at parks or in other public areas.
According to the recent report about dog bite liability, New York had the highest average cost per dog bite claim at more than $43,000. New York ranked second in number of dog-bite claims, with 965 claims costing $41.6 million.
Any dog, no matter the size or the breed, can bite and injure a child. A dog may be scared or protective of owners, especially if children get excited and approach them too quickly or loudly.
During summer months, many children spend more time outside and are more likely to encounter dogs, the need for caution increases. Homeowner and renter insurance policies usually cover liability related to dog bites up to the limit of the policy.
Stay Safe Around Dogs
Follow these suggestions by the New York State Department of Health to avoid dog bites:
When dealing with unfamiliar or angry dogs: