Insurance Information Institute: Dog Bite Injury Claims Top $1 Billion in 2022

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Average Dog Bite Injury Insurance Claim Payout Increased 32% in 2022

Average Dog Bite Injury Insurance Claim Payout Increased 32% in 2022

Jun 8, 2023

Dog bite injuries impact over 4.5 million Americans every year. Of those incidents, more than 800,000 dog bites or attacks require victims to receive medical attention. Understanding your rights after a dog bite is important to ensuring that you secure the financial compensation you deserve for all damages.

Dog Bite Injury Claims Top $1 Billion in 2022

Below we will look at average dog bite settlements for 2022 and review how to file your personal injury claim with the experienced and proven attorneys at Dordulian Law Group.

What is a Dog Bite Injury Civil Claim?

When you’re injured by a dog bite in California, a civil claim can be filed to ensure that you are properly compensated for various losses, such as hospital/medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more.

California law mandates what’s known as strict liability for dog bites, meaning that owners are liable when their pet attacks another human, regardless of whether they were negligent or knew of a previous history of aggression.

In the majority of dog bite civil claims, settlements paid out for injuries are covered under the pet owner’s insurance policy – whether homeowners or renters.

How Much is a Dog Bite Injury Settlement Worth?

Various factors can impact the overall value of your dog bite injury claim. Depending on the extent and severity of your injuries, a number of damages may be included in your final damages award, such as:

  • Medical bills (past and future)
  • Hospital expenses
  • Prescription drug costs
  • Lost wages
  • Lost future earning capacity
  • Emotional trauma
  • Scarring or disfigurement
  • Psychological harm
  • Pain and suffering
  • Punitive damages

Additional factors which can impact the value of your dog bite injury cash settlement include:

  • The dog owner’s insurance coverage (policy limits may affect the total amount of compensation available)
  • The extent of liability on the part of the pet owner (Was the animal on a leash? Did the animal have a history of aggression?)
  • The severity of your injuries (Did you suffer a major injury which limits your ability to enjoy everyday activities?)
  • The total amount of your financial losses (Including things like medical bills, lost wages, etc.)

What is the Average Dog Bite Settlement Amount?

Dog bite cash settlements are unique to each individual incident and the series of events surrounding it. However, a recent study from the Insurance Information Institute (III) indicated that the average cost per insurance claim for a dog bite injury in 2022 was $64,555. That figure actually represents a 32% increase when compared to 2021.

Additionally, the III confirmed that the total amount paid out by insurance companies as a result of dog bite incidents during the course of 2022 was a staggering $1.13 billion.

How Dog Bite Injuries are Classified

The severity of your dog bite injury will fall under one of five levels:

  • Level 1: The dog’s teeth do not touch the victim’s skin
  • Level 2: The dog’s teeth touch (but do not break) the victim’s skin
  • Level 3: There are one to four shallow puncture wounds in the victim’s skin
  • Level 4: One to four punctures from a single bite exist (and at least one puncture wound is deep)
  • Level 5: Multiple bites (including some deep puncture wounds) are visible – typically from a dog attack

Health officials recommend assessing the severity of the wound immediately after suffering a dog bite injury. If there is no bleeding, you should wash the bite thoroughly with soap and water right away. If the wound is bleeding, pressure should be applied.

Why You Should Always Seek Medical Attention After a Dog Bite

Whether your dog bite injury was severe or a minor flesh wound, a thorough examination by a licensed physician immediately afterward is always recommended. Prior to the medical exam, try to keep the wound above the level of your heart. This can help prevent swelling as well as infection. Additionally, keep the wound covered with a bandage until you are evaluated by a medical professional.

Seeking medical treatment after a dog bite can be an essential part of recovering financial compensation in an eventual civil claim. A medical exam establishes an official record of your injuries and can be beneficial to helping you secure a maximum damages award.

While all dog bite injuries should be examined by a doctor, there are certain types that can necessitate immediate and potentially complex treatment.

Not seeking medical care can adversely impact your health in any of the following situations:

  • The wound does not stop bleeding after 15 minutes of pressure being applied.
  • The bite has visibly broken the skin. In such cases, a tetanus shot may be required to reduce the possibility of tetanus infection (this can vary depending on when the victim last received a tetanus shot booster).
  • The victim was bitten by a feral or stray dog.
  • The animal’s immunization records from the owner are not available.
  • The victim has a weakened immune system (this could be due to an illness like diabetes, or a specific medical treatment such as immunotherapy/chemotherapy).
  • Signs of infection – redness, warmth, pus, or swelling – are present.

A doctor may prescribe antibiotics for some dog bites. Additionally, if the dog is suspected to have rabies, the injured victim may require a series of vaccinations. Rabies is 100% preventable, but only through the specified sequence of vaccines administered by a medical professional.

Contact Us Today for a Free and Confidential Dog Bite Attorney Consultation

Dog bite injury victims are often hesitant to file civil claims seeking to recover financial compensation. In fact, the vast majority of dog bites never get reported. But as a victim, if the dog owner is a friend or family member, although you may be uncomfortable with suing someone you know and care about, it’s important to remember that most dog bite claims are covered by the pet owner’s insurance policy.

Homeowner’s insurance and even renter’s insurance policies often help cover any dog bite-related damages, so the animal owner will not necessarily have to pay for your medical expenses, etc. out-of-pocket.

To speak with a Dordulian Law Group (DLG) Los Angeles-area dog bite lawyer about your case, contact us today at 866-GO-SEE-SAM. DLG was founded by Sam Dordulian, a former Deputy District Attorney for Los Angeles County who has been fighting for justice on behalf of injured victims for more than 25 years. Our dog bite and personal injury attorneys have helped injured victims secure more than $100,000,000.00 in settlements and verdicts.

Ready to file a claim and pursue justice through a financial damages award? Our expert attorneys are available online or by phone now.

There’s never any fee until we’ve successfully recovered maximum financial compensation for your dog bite injury case. Contact us today at 866-GO-SEE-SAM to learn more and take the first step toward securing the justice you deserve.

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