Dog Bites Leave Scars on Cost of Homeowner Claims

The impact of dog bite claims by homeowners

When man’s best friend is a liability

If you’ve been considering dog training for the family pooch, now might be the time to enroll – the cost of a class could save you thousands of dollars. Approximately 1,000 people in the U.S. require emergency care treatment every day for dog bite injuries

Dog bites and other dog-related injuries make up more than 33 percent of homeowner claims nationwide. While the number of incidents has decreased in recent years, the national average cost per claim has increased from 2003 to 2014 more than 67 percent. The rise is attributed to increased medical costs and climbing jury awards.

Dog bites are the most common source of claims, but dogs that knock down children, cyclists, joggers, delivery people and senior citizens. These mishaps can cause fractures and other injuries , which can increase the severity of the loss. Even the most docile dogs can bite if frightened or defending their puppies, owners or food. Poorly trained dogs are the most dangerous. Negligent owners and irresponsible breeding practices can foster viciousness.

Dog-related injuries are taking a bite out of business owners budgets, too. Workers’ Compensation for the United States Postal Service (USPS) costs about $3.7 billion a year. Dog bites are the U.S. Postal Service’s most common cause of injury for walking postal workers. Delivery people, service contractors, landscapers and other workers that approach or come near the property are at risk.

Top 5 Reasons Dogs Bite

  • Dog possessiveness: Protection of property, which can be territory, toys or a human, is common. Guard dogs and herding breeds are typically the worst offenders but any dog can display this behavior..
  • Dog fear: Fear typically presents around strangers, such as veterinarians, or when the dog is in an unfamiliar situation. An unfamiliar dog should never be approached, parents need to drill that into curious children. Fear bites may occur in the home if the dog is startled. Again, teach children to never sneak up on or bother a sleeping dog.
  • Dog pain: Pain can cause the friendliest dog to bite. If your dog is sick or suffering an injury, instruct children to stay away from the sore area.
  • Maternal instincts: Be aware of the maternal instinct around a bitch – even the most docile dog can become aggressive after birthing. Children should be taught to not approach very young puppies around the mother and to use caution when handling puppies.
  • Chasing prey: An instinct to chase can be triggered by vehicles, runners or bikers. If a dog gives chase, it is best to stop moving and stand tall facing the dog, but do not make eye contact. That is usually seen as a challenge by the dog.

Sources:

  • “When Dogs Bite, Home Insurers Pay Average $32,000.” insurancejournal.com. 15 May, 2015.
  • Insurance Information Institute
  • State Farm
  • Cesarsway.com
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