An analysis of homeowners insurance data by the I.I.I. found that the number of dog bite claims nationwide increased to 18,123 in 2016, compared to 15,352 in 2015 -– an 18 percent increase. The average cost per claim, however, decreased by more than 10 percent. The average cost paid out for dog bite claims was $33,230 in 2016, compared with $37,214 in 2015 and $32,072 in 2014.
"The decrease in the 2016 average cost per claim could be attributed to a decrease in severity of injuries," said Loretta Worters, a vice president with the I.I.I. "But the average cost per claim nationally has risen more than 70 percent from 2003 to 2016, due to increased medical costs as well as the size of settlements, judgments and jury awards given to plaintiffs."
California continued to have the largest number of claims in the U.S. at 1,934 in 2016, an increase from 1,684 in 2015. California also had the highest claims paid out at $76 million. The state with the second highest number of claims was Florida at 1,325. The state with the highest average cost per claim was New York, at a whopping $55,671 per claim.
For more state specific information, go to the I.I.I.'s interactive map.
Be A Responsible Dog Owner
National Dog Bite Prevention Week® (), is an annual event designed to provide consumers with information on how to be responsible pet owners while increasing awareness of a serious public health issue.
Even dogs that are normally docile may bite when they are frightened or when defending their puppies, owners or food. However, the best way to protect yourself is to prevent your dog from biting anyone in the first place. The most dangerous dogs are those that fall victim to human shortcomings such as poor training, irresponsible ownership and breeding practices that foster viciousness.
"The family veterinarian should be the first stop for any pet owner with behavioral concerns, said Dr. Melissa Bain, AVMA member and specialist in animal behavior. "They can advise you as to whether there is a medical component for which medication may be an appropriate element of an integrated treatment program; and whether or not a referral to a behavior specialist is warranted."
For dog bite prevention tips, click here or join the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #preventdogbites.
The following organizations are committed to educating Americans about dog bite prevention:
American Academy of Pediatrics
American College of Veterinary Behaviorists
American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA)
United States Postal Service (USPS)
Victoria Stilwell Foundation
THE I.I.I. IS A NONPROFIT, COMMUNICATIONS ORGANIZATION SUPPORTED BY THE INSURANCE INDUSTRY.
SOURCE Insurance Information Institute