According to a new report by State Farm and the Insurance Information Institute, Pennsylvania ranks 5th in the nation in dog bite claims.
On average, the average cost per dog bite claim increased in 2018 by 5.3% and paid out an average of $39,017 per claim. In fact, in 2018 alone, homeowners and their insurance companies paid a staggering $675 million in liability claims related to dog bites. In Pennsylvania, there were 780 dog bite claims in 2018, which paid an average of $35,424 per claim.
More than 60 million households across the United States own at least one dog. These dogs range in size from small Poodle breeds to bigger Huskies. Since some dog breeds are found to be more aggressive than others, some states and insurance companies will not insure homeowners who own specific dog breeds, such as pit bulls. Pennsylvania, however, is one state that does not deny liability coverage based on specific dog breeds. In fact, Pennsylvania law prohibits insurers from denying coverage to owners of specific breeds.
Pit Bulls | Fatal Dog Attacks by Breed
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs every single year. The majority of these injuries are to children between the ages of 5 and 9 years old, and over half of all dog bite injuries are caused by familiar dogs or even family dogs themselves. Sadly, every year there are at least 16 fatalities caused by dog attacks.
Preventing Dog Attacks / Dog Bites: What Pet Owners Can Do
Pet owners are legally responsible for their pets and for the injuries they cause. If your dog causes an injury to another person, you may be held legally responsible for your dog’s actions. However, in order for a Pennsylvania dog owner to be held liable for a dog bite, the dog must have caused injury without provocation. In order to prevent serious and deadly dog bites from occurring, dog owners should follow these rules:
- Consider formal dog training
- Follow all leash laws in your county
- Install a fence in your yard
- Remain in control of your dog at all times
- Spay or neuter your dog
- Aggressive dogs require extra training and care
Preventing Dog Attacks / Dog Bites: What Parents Can Do
Small children are at an increased risk for sustaining serious and fatal injuries due to their small size and vulnerability. As such, parents of small children need to teach their children about the dangers of strange animals and what to do when approached by a strange dog in public. In addition, special care should be taken, even around family pets, to never allow your child to play with dogs unsupervised. Parents who teach their children about dog safety will reduce the likelihood of a child becoming the victim of a dog bite. If you are a parent, consider teaching your child the following safety tips:
- Never pet a strange dog without first asking the owner
- Let a dog sniff your hand before petting it
- Don’t disturb a sleeping dog
- Never grab a dog from behind
- Don’t chase, or run away from, a strange dog
- Don’t trespass on another person’s property
- Never attempt to pet or interact with a dog that is eating
- Respect all dogs and their spaces, including small dogs that look harmless
Dog bite injuries can be severe and can quickly become infected. They can cause permanent disfigurement, broken bones, lacerations, infections, and even amputation. When a serious dog bite occurs, you need an experienced and skilled dog bite attorney on your side to help you obtain the compensation you deserve.
Contact Our Pennsylvania and New Jersey Dog Bite Injury Lawyers
If you or someone you love has been harmed by a dog, it is important to understand the potential severity of these injuries. The dog bite injury attorneys at McLaughlin & Lauricella, P.C., have more than 100 years of experience representing injured dog bite victims and their families across Philadelphia, Berks, Bucks, Dauphin, Delaware, Lackawanna, Lehigh, Luzerne, Montgomery, and Northampton Counties, as well as in the State of New Jersey. Please call us today; 1-855-633-6251 (Toll Free) or 215-568-1510 (Pennsylvania) or 856-380-3999 (New Jersey) or fill out our confidential contact form to learn more about your legal options.