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Dog bites drop in 2018 but risks grow among young children

There is good news and bad news concerning the frequency of dog bite claims in this country. These injury claims dropped by nine percent last year according to some research. However, the number of emergency room visits for children under the age of one suffering from animal bites rose significantly.

The number of dog bite claims fell by 6.6 percent between 2017 and 2018. Payments totaled $675 million in 2018, which was a seven percent drop, according to the Insurance Information Institute and State Farm. Dog bites and other dog-related injuries comprised almost one-third of all homeowner liability claims paid out last year. The average cost per claim rose by 5.3 percent. The average cost paid out for dog bite claims climbed from $37,051 in 2017 to $39,017 in 2018.

California was the state with the highest number of claims. It had 409 claims and $18.6 million in claim payments.

The news was less positive for younger victims. Emergency room visits for children under the age of one doubled over a 17-year period. These rose from 1,794 visits in 2001 to 3,125 in 2018.

Most dog bites are an unfortunate combination of situation and circumstance. A dog’s behavior is often misunderstood, or signals are missed by people. Approximately two-thirds of pet owners miss a small time period between two and 14 weeks when socialization is important for the dog’s behavioral development. This socialization can make the difference between a strong bond between dogs and humans and the sad result of dogs being euthanized or returned to shelters.

Kentucky law holds pet owners strictly liable for injuries caused by their pets. An attorney can help victims of these injuries seek compensation for medical expenses and other losses for these injuries.

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