Dog Bite Injuries: More Common than You Might Think
Have you been injured by a dog bite? If you have, you’re not alone. Legal experts estimate that there are over four million dog bites every year in the United States and that many of those cause injuries for which victims can be compensated.
Children are often victims
Steve Recordon, a California attorney with nearly 30 years of experience whose practice represents individuals who have been injured by dog bites, says that the estimate of four million dog bite injuries per year is a conservative number. In a recent interview, he told us, “It could be closer to four and half million. They’re very common. Children are the ones that suffer the most injuries and, actually, children under the age of 10 are the most susceptible. That’s probably because at these tender ages, they haven’t learned to be afraid of dogs yet and they’re running up to the dogs, grabbing them by the ears, grabbing them by the tail and they’re the ones that end up being bitten most often.”
More injuries occur in summer
According to Recordon, the number of dog bite attacks all across the country has gone up and up over the past five years and we’re into the time of year where you have more dog bites nationwide, and that’s summertime. He explained that the reason for that is due to longer daylight hours where you have dog owners walking more. “Normally, they would just walk their dogs in the morning. However, starting around May, they’re walking their dogs in the morning as well as when they come back from work and taking them to dog parks or fenced in areas where they can be off leash.”
Consequently, the number of dog bites increases – but don’t assume that your insurance will cover your injuries.
Insurance companies finding ways to limit coverage
The ways in which insurance companies handle dog bite claims has been changing over the years and more insurers are finding ways to limit coverage. Recordon explained:
Homeowners insurance or renters insurance may cover a victim’s damages if the dog owner has insurance. However, the trend by insurance companies is to exclude coverage in certain types of cases. For example, if the homeowner’s or renter’s dog had a previous bite, what you’ll find is that the insurance carriers are going to exclude that dog on the policy.
You have certain breeds of dogs that insurance companies are more and more frequently excluding and those breeds are Pit Bulls, Rottweilers, Chows, Akitas and, more and more – German Shepherds. These are dogs that have been determined to be aggressive breeds and the insurance company is trying to figure out ways to not pay the victims, so they’re tacking on exclusions.
If you’ve been injured due to a dog bite, contact an attorney whose practice focuses in this area of law to discuss your situation. Consultations are free, without obligation and are strictly confidential. To speak with an experienced attorney, please click here.