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Average dog bite claim settlement: $29,396

Bronx readers who stop by this blog once in awhile have probably heard us stress that dog bites often are not "no big deal," but maybe some numbers would help hammer this fact home.

The Insurance Information Institute recently reported that in 2011, the average cost to settle a dog bite claim was $29,396 and that there were 16, 292 such claims across the country that year. Dog bites made up more than 30 percent of homeowners insurance liability claims paid out last year, which is more than the amounts paid out for fire or hurricane damage or for credit card theft.

If $29,396 seems like a lot to you, do not forget that in addition to medical costs, people who are bitten by dogs deserve to be compensated for the pain and suffering inflicted upon them. Sometimes, injured parties also seek lost wages and reimbursement for legal fees.

Another way in which this matters concerns insurance costs. If insurance companies have to pay out too much in dog bite claims because dog owners are not being responsible when it comes to their pets, then we will all have to pay more for our homeowners insurance policies to make up for the outflow of cash.

As you can see, dog bites are not something we can ignore, either as a society or as individuals. All dog owners need to make sure their pets are adequately socialized, properly restrained, or both. On the other hand, people who get bitten by a dog should know they have a right to file a personal injury lawsuit over the harm done to them.

Source: The Advocate, "Dog bites rank high among insurance claims," Ted Griggs, July 24, 2012

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