A dog bite can lead to a number of injuries, ranging from cuts and bruises to scarring, permanent disfigurement, broken bones or death. Dog owners can generally be held legally responsible if their dog attacks and injures someone, especially if the owner was aware that the dog had violent tendencies or a history of aggression. Typically, when a dog owner is sued or held accountable for a dog bite, the homeowner's insurance policy will kick in and pay for the losses and legal fees incurred by the dog owner.
Recently, the Insurance Journal has indicated that California is one of the top 10 states for dog bite claims. Our Los Angeles dog bite lawyers know that the costs of a dog bite can be very high and that it is essential that a claim be made when a dog bite happens. The data on California dog bites shows that many people are taking the legal action they need to in order to ensure their bills are covered after a dog attack. Yet, not everyone pursues a claim or gets the maximum in compensation, which is why it is important to consult with an experienced dog bite attorney if you've been harmed.
California a Top States for Dog Bite Insurance Claims
The Insurance Journal information on dog bite claims comes from State Farm, an insurance company that provides many different policies including homeowner's insurance coverage. According to the information, California was the number one state for dog bite claims in 2012.
In California during 2012, there were 451 dog bite claims made against owners after a dog bite incident or attack occurred. In total, these 451 dog bite accident claims resulted in a significant amount of compensation being paid out to victims. An estimated $17.1 million was paid out in dog bite claims just in 2012 alone. While insurance companies were generally responsible for paying these claims, insurers are only on the hook for the maximum policy limits of each homeowner's policy.
Still, insurance companies can end up paying out a lot of money even for a single dog bite incident. The average cost for a single dog bite claim in 2012 was $29,752.00. This was a 1.2 percent increase in the payout as compared with the $29,752 average payout in 2011. From 2003 to 2012, the increase was dramatic, with the average payout increasing by 55.3 percent even as the estimated number of claims declined 1.6 percent.
Because of the ever-increasing costs associated with dog bite claims, some insurance companies are imposing more restrictions on the dogs that they will insure. KSL.com, for example, reports that some California insurers are refusing to provide policies to homeowners with certain breeds of dog recognized as dangerous. These breeds include pit bulls, mastiffs, preso canarios, Dobermans and rottweilers.
Unfortunately, when an insurance company does drop coverage for a certain type of dog, this can leave homeowner's scrambling to find a policy that will work for them. With California as the number one state for dog bite claims, more insurance companies may decide to take the step of limiting coverage for certain dogs. This would make things even more difficult for dog owners.
Contact Howard Law, PC today, if you or a loved one has been injured. Call today for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your case. 1-800-872-5925.
More Blog Entries:
Costa Mesa Dog Bites: The Right Way to Welcome a New Family Member, California Injury Lawyers, January 4, 2013