Dog bite claims are increasing nationwide, and California leads the pack. The latest analysis of dog bite claims in the United States shows disturbing trends in the number of annual dog-related injuries in our country.
Dog bites and other dog-related injuries took up over a third of all payments paid out in homeowner liability claims in 2017. We asked our Los Angeles dog bite attorney Howard Craig Kornberg to review the latest statistics of dog bite claims in California and explain why the number of such claims keeps growing.
Dog bite claims on the rise in the U.S.
In 2017, dog bite and other dog-related injuries cost nearly $700 million in homeowner liability claim payouts, according to the latest homeowners insurance data gathered by the Insurance Information Institute and State Farm.
The analysis revealed a 2.2 percent increase in the number of dog bite claims across the United States. In 2017, there were 18,522 such claims, up from 18,122 the preceding year.
But it is not only the number of dog bite claims that have seen an increase nationwide but also the average cost per claim. Compared to 2016, the average payout for a dog bite claim increased by 11.5 percent and stood at more than $37,000. That is a nearly $4,000 boost from $33,230 in 2016.
Our Los Angeles dog bite lawyer from the Law Offices of Howard Craig Kornberg explains what caused the increase in both the number of dog bite claims in the U.S. and the increase in the average cost per such claim by saying that the severity of dog bite injuries keeps getting more serious. It also has to do with the growing popularity of pit bulls and rottweilers in our country, the two most dangerous dog breeds.
As for the increasing average cost per claim in California and all across the country, our dog bite attorney explains that the constantly-rising medical costs to treat dog bites and other dog-related injuries are the main cause behind the increasing cost of such claims.
Let’s not forget that the average cost per dog bite claim has skyrocketed more than 90 percent in 14 years, from 2003 to 2017. That is because the size of dog bite settlements keeps getting bigger to reflect the cost of medical treatments and procedures that treat dog bites.
California has the highest number of dog bite claims
As the number of dog bites keeps increasing nationwide, California continues to account for the largest number of such claims in the country. In 2017, nearly 2,230 claims were filed in Los Angeles and all across the state, a more than 13 percent increase from 2016, which had 1,934 such claims that year.
Expectedly, California also leads in terms of the highest value of claims, standing at a whopping over $90 million in 2017. By contrast, Florida had the second-highest number of dog bite claims in 2017 with 1,345 claims, down nearly 40 percent from California.
Florida did, however, outperform California in the highest average cost per claim, scoring $44,700 per claim last year. California is one of few states in our country with “strict liability” laws, which makes it easier for injured people to sue dog owners than in the vast majority of other states.
This may be one of the reasons why we see so many dog bite claims in California every year. People know that it is possible to receive compensation, and so they go for it. However, even though it is easier to seek damages for a dog bite in California than in many other states, it is still highly advised to be represented by a dog attack attorney in order to win your case.