Over the past decade, costs for dog bite claims have risen more than 50 percent, costing homeowners and insurance carriers $489 million in 2012. While dog bite claims have actually stayed around the same number over the past ten years, the costs are skyrocketing due to higher healthcare costs and more reconstructive types of treatments.
It’s easy to assume that there are specific breeds that are the primary suspect for dog bites, but the truth is, any dog can bite. Dog bites often occur with children, the elderly and, not surprisingly, postal carriers. Any threat on a dog’s “territory” or surprising maneuvers such as playfully tugging on a tail can turn the nicest dog into a vicious one. In 2012 alone, the American Society of Plastic Surgeons states that nearly 27,800 reconstructive procedures took place for both children and adults that were a direct result of a dog bite.
The Insurance Information Institute claims that the $489 million paid out by homeowners’ liability claims is approximately a third of all homeowner claims across the United States. In general, most homeowners’ policies include limits for liability around the $100,000 to $300,000. Any costs above and beyond the policy limit are the homeowners’ responsibility, including legal fees.
With over 4 million people bit by a dog each year, it is easy to see how these numbers could easily rise over the next 10 years. With preparation, education and attention, we hope that it will begin to decrease soon. Dog bites and dog attacks have the power to turn your life upside down. If a dog has bit you or someone you love in Philadelphia, call Mednick, Mezyk & Kredo for a free consultation. We’ll help you understand your rights and next steps in obtaining the compensation you need.