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McQuiston: Dog Bite Statistics

on January 2, 2018 - 7:21am
By ALLEN MCQUISTON
The Jemez Agency
 
My agency recently had a customer whose dog nipped at a little neighbor boys hand while the boy was playing a little too rough with him. So I thought I would use that as this week's column. 
 
The boy suffered a minor injury and my customers homeowners policy paid the medical bill. But, as with a lot of things in life it could have been worse. And thankfully it wasn't one of the breeds you hear about that are vicious attack dogs. Did you know most insurance companies have a list of dogs breeds that would prevent you from obtaining insurance? Simply put, if you own a dog that is considered vicious (whether they are or not) you may not be able to obtain homeowners insurance at any cost. 
 
The dog bite claim we had is not a rare instance. Consider the following:
 
Every year, about 9,500 U.S. citizens are hospitalized due to dog bite injuries. Each day about 1,000 U.S. citizens require some form of emergency care related to dog bites (dogsbite.org). Below are some statistics related to dog bites in the United States.
 
Dog bites and other dog-related injuries accounted for more than one-third of all homeowners insurance liability claim dollars paid out in the year 2016 (more than $600 million). Dog attack victims suffer over $1 billion in monetary losses annually (some estimates are as high as $2 billion).
 
Since 1993, there has been an increase of 86 percent in hospitalization stays due to dog bite related injuries.
 
More than 1,000 cities in the United States have adopted breed-specific laws since the mid-1980s. It is important to know the laws of your area and research about how your specific dog breed is governed as it might be different than others depending on your place of residence.
 
Adults with two or more dogs in the household are five times more likely to be bitten than those living without dogs in the home.
 
In 2016, 6,750 U.S. Postal Service employees were attacked by dogs, an increase of almost 200 from the prior year. The city of Los Angeles had the most reported attacks in 2016 with 80. These statistics show that dog bites are becoming an increasing burden on the public as well as the insurance industry. It is important to be aware and in control of your dog at all times.
 
With the increase in dog-bite related injuries and claims, some states have adopted laws to try and govern the liability for dog owners, including Strict Liability laws in some states. It is important to know what laws are in place where you live and the laws that govern the ownership and liability of dog ownership to try and minimize your risk of a serious event.
 

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