Value of Dog Bite Claims Goes Up

I remember from my days of high school Latin, the term “Cave Canum”– Beware of Dog. It appears the problem hasn’t gotten any better since the old days of Rome. The Center for Disease Control calculates that there are 4.7 million dog bites per year in the United States. Of these over 800,000 result in the dog bite victim requiring medical care.

If your dog bites someone, generally your homeowners insurance will cover such a claim. A recent study by the Insurance Information Institute finds that the average cost of dog bite claims has increased to $24,840.00. Of course, many claims are settled for much more if the injuries result in permanent scarring, disfigurement or death. Each claim is different depending upon the severity of the dog attack and the harm to the victim.

In California, dog owners are strictly liable for injuries caused if their dog bites someone. This means that the owner is liable even if he is not negligent. Therefore, if you own a dog you should take all steps necessary, such as using a leash at all times, to prevent your dog from biting others. If you are bitten by a dog, you should know your legal rights in California. As an Oakland personal injury lawyer, I have seen the tremendous harm that can be caused when a dog viciously attacks some. If you have suffered a serious dog bite, you should review my article “What are Your Rights if Bitten by a Dog?”


Insurance Information Institute, August 2010

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