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Dog Bites Represent One-Third of Homeowner’s Insurance Claims

Published November 16, 2016 by Scott Gottlieb, Injury Law Attorney

It may surprise you to discover that one of the most common homeowner’s insurance claims has little to do with the home, but instead with the pets who live there. Around one-third of homeowners insurance claims are for dog bites.

Dog bites can cause serious injuries, both physical and emotional, depending on the dog size, breed, provocation, and size or age of the person attacked. Dog attacks are often a tragedy on both sides—injury to the victim of the attack, and often abandonment or euthanasia of the dog that attacked.

Last year, the State Farm insurance company paid $118 million in dog bite claims, and in New York alone 147 claims were paid at a cost of $6.2 million. State Farm and the National Dog Bite Prevention Coalition are engaged in efforts to educate people about responsible pet ownership and how to prevent dog bites.

What Steps Can You Take to Prevent Dog Bites?  

According to the Humane Society, 50% of children in the U.S. will be bitten by a dog before their 12th birthday. There are a number of things you can do to prevent a child from being bitten by a dog. For instance, do not leave children (especially babies) alone with a dog, and do not let them touch a dog that is unfamiliar to you and them. If your child sees a dog whose owner gives them permission to approach, have them first hold out a closed fist for the dog to smell.

You can also teach your child to:

  • Not tease dogs
  • Not stare into a dog’s eyes
  • Not to invade a dog’s personal space too much by tight hugging, etc.
  • Stand still and be quiet if a strange dog comes near
  • Not play with a dog while it is eating
  • Avoid interacting with strange dogs that are off-leash or chained up

Adults can also be seriously injured by dog bites, and you may not always be able to see it coming. Some signs that a dog is feeling aggressive include: growling, baring teeth or lunging.

If a dog acts like it may bite you, whether it is a dog you know or not, turn to the side, do not make eye contact, and ignore the dog. A lot of times this will defuse the aggression and make you an uninteresting target. But if a dog still moves to attack, try to put something between you and the dog, such as a purse, a stick, a blanket, etc., to deflect their attention. You can also:

  • Climb up on something.
  • Throw something over the dog’s eyes to distract them long enough for you to escape.
  • If you are really being attacked, curl up into a ball on the ground and protect your head and neck.
  • Try not to scream or panic.

If you have been bitten by a dog in New York, you may have the right to compensation for your injuries. A New York dog bite lawsuit may help you recover your medical costs and lost wages, as well as paying for the pain and suffering you endured. For a free consultation, contact the Binghamton offices of Scott C. Gottlieb, Injury Law Attorney, today.

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