In 2009, $412 million was spent on dog bite lawsuits, a 6.4% increase from 2008. This figure averages out to about $24,840 per claim, according to the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.).
Insurance coverage for dog bite claims provide compensation for injuries associated with animal attacks, such as medical expenses, lost wages, permanent scarring and pain and suffering.
In the United States alone, about 4.5 million dog attacks are reported each year. The majority of these incidents are not reported. Most people affected are postal workers and delivery people.
Here are some steps recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the I.I.I. to prevent your dog from biting someone:
- Dog owners should consult with a veterinarian about suitable breeds for their home and neighborhood.
- Prospective owners should spend time with a dog before buying or adopting it and should make sure that the dog is not aggressive towards infants and/or toddlers.
- Have your dog spayed or neutered.
- Make sure children do not disturb the dog while eating or sleeping, and never leave a child alone with the dog.
- Socialize your dog so that it knows how to behave around other people and animals.
- Play non-aggressive games with your dog. For example: fetching the ball, as opposed to tug-of-war.