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Average Dog Bite Injury Claim Exceeds $32,000 Per Insurance Study

by | Jun 12, 2015 | Premises Liability

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Each year, Ohio is among the leading states in dog attacks. Despite statewide and community-level efforts to reduce the number of bites and injuries, Ohio is still struggling to get a grip on the problem. The human cost is overwhelming.

In August 2014, a 59-year-old woman was fatally mauled by a pit bull mix in Madison Township, Ohio. She was playing with her 2-year-old grandson when the unprovoked attack occurred. The dog had no prior history of aggression, making the attack even more troubling.

In May 2015, a 15-year-old boy was riding his skateboard in Deer Park, Ohio, when a dog began aggressively chasing him. The teen tried to escape but the dog bit him from behind, causing serious damage to his genitals. The purported Australian Shepherd mix was on a leash held by its owner during the attack. The teen needed surgery on his scrotum and must endure a series of painful rabies shots because the dog’s owner did not come forward so the animal could be tested.

The Financial Cost Of A Dog Bite Can Be Severe

Dog bites and knockdowns can cause a number of serious injuries, including nerve damage, scarring/disfigurement, broken bones, infection, psychological trauma and wrongful death. These horrible consequences can have huge financial implications, too.

The Insurance Information Institute recently released its 2014 data, revealing that the average cost of a dog attack was $32,072. This marks an increase of more than $4,000 from the average dog-related injury claim in 2013.

Insurers were quick to point out that the aforementioned numbers aren’t just for dog bite claims, but also involve situations where a dog knocks down children, elderly, cyclists, etc., causing injury. Serious dog-related injuries may not even involve an “attack,” but can result from a playful or rambunctious dog, without aggression.

Key Things To Remember About Dog-Related Injuries:

  • In Ohio, pet owners are strictly liable for the harm caused by their animal. It does not matter if the dog had no prior history of aggression.
  • Pet owners should always carry homeowners’ or renters’ insurance, but many do not. Animal owners are personally liable for injuries, so quickly partner with an attorney after an incident to get the best possible chance of recovering full damages.
  • Dog attacks (bites and scratches) have a high risk of infection. You need medical attention, even if you think the injury is minor. Also, permanent nerve damage and scarring/disfigurement may be in play, even if the injury seems minor to you.