Dog Bite Liability - Personal Injury Attorney

    It is probable that the average dog owner will never need to file an insurance liability coverage claim because his or her dog bit someone, but not having liability coverage for dog bites can place someones personal assets at risk. According to the Insurance Information Institute, in 2012 the number of insurance dog bite claims was 16,459. The amount actually paid out by all insurance companies on those claims was $489.7 million, a figure that represents nearly 35 percent of all settlements made on homeowner liability claims. The average per claim cost for 2012 was $29,752 which represents a per claim increase of nearly 51 percent over the past 10 years. The escalation in settlement costs was primarily attributed to increases in health care costs of 62 percent during the same time frame.

    Another organization that publishes annual dog bite statistics is the United States Postal Service (USPS). On May 15, 2013, the USPS reported nearly 5,900 dog attacks on letter carriers during 2012. Three California cities were on the USPS top dog attack city rankings; Los Angeles was #1, followed by San Francisco at #5 and Sacramento at #9. The rankings were not surprising since California has more people than any other state and, potentially, more pet dogs.

    California is a total liability state and has a dog bite statute, California Civil Code 3342, which holds dog owners automatically responsible for injuries and damages received by people bitten by their dogs. This responsibility for compensation is valid when the dog bite victim is legally on private property or in a public area. Dog owners are held liable to compensate injured parties for property damage, emergency room treatment, surgical procedures, medical bills, pain and emotional suffering, and lost wages.

    Dog owners can protect themselves and their assets with a homeowner or renter insurance policy that includes dog bite liability. Most insurance liability coverage ranges from $100,000 to $300,000. If a claim exceeds the covered limit, the dog owner is held responsible for the additional amount. A dog owner can purchase a personal excess liability policy for protection against personal claims, including dog bites, which could affect the owners assets. Personal excess liability policies range from $1 to $10 million in coverage and are not expensive. The first $1 million coverage can cost from $150 to $300 a year with each additional $1 million of coverage added at a lower cost.

    Certain dog bite occurrences will require legal representation handled by a personal injury attorney. For instance, individuals living in Los Angeles or Santa Monica may want to seek counsel from a personal injury lawyer who has experience with dog bite cases in the area.

    Call Baker and Oring, LLP, at (310) 822-3377 for a no cost, no obligation consultation if you have been involved in a significant dog bite occurrence.

    This web site is designed for general information only. The information presented at this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor the formation of a lawyer/client relationship. [ Sitemap ]

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