An interesting trend is presenting itself with dog bite injuries across Wisconsin and the rest of the United States. Last year, injury claims from dog bites surged to an all-time high, increasing by 12 percent due to legal settlements, jury awards and increased medical costs. Dog bite injuries cost the insurance industry $478.9 million in 2011, soaring over the cost of $412.6 million in 2010.
Records show the average injury claim increased almost $30,000 over the last year. The research comes from the Insurance Information Institute and blames the increasing costs on dogs that are dangerous -- specifically those who are poorly trained or belong to irresponsible owners -- and practices by unscrupulous breeders that promote viciousness among animals. Dog bite injuries now account for more than a third of home insurers' liability payouts.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, postal workers seem to receive the brunt of dog bite injuries with a whopping 5,577 of U.S. Postal Service workers reporting an animal attack over the last year. As we continue to see dog bites as a problem, hopefully dog owners will consider the advice of the Insurance Information Institute, which included keeping dogs away from small children and making sure pets are spayed and neutered.
Responsible ownership in Wisconsin and throughout the rest of the United States is a factor that can decrease the number of dog bite injuries substantially. Promoting good breeding practices and using spaying or neutering can possibly help alleviate an animal's aggressiveness toward others. Those who have suffered a vicious dog bite injury may seek reimbursement for expenses and other damages through the Wisconsin civil court system.
Source: San Francisco Chronicle, "Dog-Bite Costs Surge to $479 Million as Average Claim Jumps," Dan Kraut, May 17, 2012