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Florida ranks 7th in nation for dog bite claims

On behalf of Terence Gross of Gross & Schuster, P.A. posted in Dog Bites on Wednesday, June 6, 2012.

Dog owners are legally responsible for the behavior of their pets. When a pet bites a family member or a dog bites a stranger, victims can suffer disfiguring injuries and undergo potentially expensive medical treatments.

Florida ranked seventh last year among the 50 states for most insurance claims for dog bites. Obviously, dogs spend a lot of time outside in places where weather is pleasant year round. Pet owners who take their dogs to parks or beaches create more opportunities for their pets to interact with strangers and thus increase chances for canine attacks.

Training, for owners and dogs alike, is a necessary part of keeping an animal under control. A well-trained, socialized animal is more likely to behave well around other dogs, strangers and kids, who are the most at-risk age group for dog bites.

Over one-third of all homeowner insurance claims filed in the U.S. last year were for dog bites. The Insurance Information Institute reported that each dog bite claim cost insurers more than $29,000 in 2011. The country’s largest insurer, State Farm, wrote claim checks for over $109 million last year for almost 3,800 dog bite claims.

Insurance companies have not actually seen an increase in dog bites, but they have watched the costs related to the claims soar. Dog bite claim payouts doubled since 2003 with no perceptive hike in claims. Experts think the reason is that there are more people and dogs living more closely together.

Pet owners are liable for taking care of their animals. One who fails to properly manage a dog risks causing harm to others.

Source: WEAR, “Dog bites cost nearly half-billion dollars,” May 23, 2012

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