One-third of homeowner claims caused by dog bites

California residents are not alone in their love for man's best friend. There are over 78 million dogs in the United States. Unfortunately, there are also a lot of bites. There are roughly 4.5 million dog bites per year in America which means one in every 72 people is on the receiving end of a painful exchange. Most bites don't require medical attention but about 900,000 become infected and in 2016, there were 41 deaths directly attributable to canine attacks.

The laws regarding liability for biting dogs vary from state to state. Most jurisdictions have adopted a strict liability approach which means owners are financially responsible for any damages resulting from their pets' aggressive behavior unless there is a legal defense such as trespassing or taunting. Other states have 'one bite" laws which mean owners are only responsible for damages after they become aware a pet has a propensity for biting. Many 'one bite" states make exceptions to the rule for certain breeds that are classified as dangerous. Dog bites are responsible for one-third of all homeowner's claims and in 2016 insurance settlements related to bites totaled $530 million with an average payout of $37,000.

Pet owners can decrease the risk of dog bites by taking some common sense precautions. Dangerous breeds should never share space with children. Researching breed characteristics and consulting trainers or veterinarians before bringing a particular animal into the home is a very good idea. Spending time with a pet to gauge potentially aggressive tendencies before allowing access to children is strongly recommended. Giving dogs sufficient exercise and socialization is also key to healthy interactions.

Being attacked by a dog can result in high medical bills and permanent scarring or disfigurement. A qualified and experienced lawyer may be able to help victims get compensation for injuries sustained when an animal attacks due to owner negligence.

Additional unlinked source:Kass, B.L., (2012, October 12) The Washington Post 'Beware of Dog Liability Laws"Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/realestate/beware-of-dog-liability-laws/2012/10/11/035873f8-0e5f-11e2-a310-2363842b7057_story.html?utm_term=.6de7e166dbda

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