Nov 25, 2020
Although dog bite attacks may not receive as much attention as car accidents, they happen every day, often resulting in serious injuries. Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicate that approximately 4.5 million dog bites occur annually in the U.S., and 885,000 of those require medical attention. The estimated annual cost for medical care related to dog bite injuries is approximately $250 million, with $120 million of that figure accounting for emergency services alone. Dog bite injuries often leave victims with staggering medical bills, as well as long-lasting pain and suffering that can be difficult to quantify.
The Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh reports that more than 50% of all dog bite victims are children, with those between the ages of 5 and 9 at highest risk for a dog bite-related injury. Of those child victims, 26% require either a trip to the emergency room or an examination by a physician. The most likely place for a dog bite attack to occur is in the victim’s home, while the second most likely location is the home of a friend to the victim. The vast majority (77%) of biting dogs are owned by:
According to the CDC, dog bites are actually a greater health risk for children than measles, mumps, and whooping cough combined. Children endure dog bites more commonly than injuries resulting from playground falls, as well as bike, moped, skateboard, or ATV accidents. Tragically, 70% of all dog bite-related fatalities are children.
California enforces what is known as “strict liability” on dog owners. Under strict liability, the dog owner is liable for a victim’s injuries regardless of whether or not the animal has previously attacked or shown signs of aggression.
Homeowners or renters insurance policies typically cover legal expenses related to dog bite injuries. The Insurance Information Institute (III) reports that dog bites are the most common liability claim on both homeowners and renters insurance policies. Coverage can vary depending on the individual policy, but the III reports that liability limits average between $100,000 and $300,000. In cases where a dog bite claim exceeds an insurance policy’s limit, the dog owner is responsible for all damages above that amount.
According to the III, the average cost for a dog bite claim increased 14.7% in 2019. Nationwide, the average payout for a dog bite claim was $44,760 in 2019 (up from $39,017 in 2018). In 2013, the Hartford Sentinel reported that U.S. insurance companies paid out almost half a billion dollars in claims over the previous year for dog bites, an increase of more than 50% since 2003. In 2019, that figure rose to $797 million in liability claims related to dog bites and various dog-related injuries.
From 2003 to 2019, the average cost per claim rose 134%, which the III attributes to increasing medical costs as well as an upward trend in overall settlement, judgment, and jury award amounts given to plaintiffs.
In 2019, California reported 2,396 dog bite claims, the largest number in the U.S. That figure increased from 2,166 in 2018.
Additionally, California has the second-highest rate of dog bite fatalities, and 82% of those fatalities are the result of pit bull attacks.
Earlier this month, CityWatch Los Angeles reported on a tragic dog attack that left a local woman hospitalized in critical condition. The incident reportedly occurred on September 26, when a pit bull attacked the dog owner’s mother, inflicting life-threatening injuries.
A LAPD officer who observed the victim’s injuries stated the woman’s “right forearm appeared to be completely shredded, like it went through a meat grinder and the bones were broken. Her left arm had multiple bite wounds with fatty tissue oozing out of the lacerations.”
According to the report, the Los Angeles Fire Department had to “use the fire hose on full blast to keep the dog away” as first responders worked to assist the injured victim. Paramedics at the scene reported that the dog “broke the victim’s arm in half and nearly severed the arm from the woman.”
In this particular example, the dog bite victim could file a claim seeking compensation for various damages including (but not limited to):
Residents of Los Angeles and throughout California who suffer dog bite injuries turn to the top-rated lawyers at Dordulian Law Group to ensure their rights are protected and their cases are handled properly.
DLG has more than 25 years of experience helping dog bite victims receive the compensation they deserve. We’ve helped clients recover over $100 million, and will fight aggressively to ensure you receive the largest possible damages award.
With our no win/no fee guarantee, you never have to worry about paying any upfront or out-of-pocket expenses. Let us handle the details of your claim using our expertise and dedication so you may focus on your recovery.
Our law firm in Glendale, CA advocates for victims of sexual assault, injury, employment disputes, and personal injury concerns.