The number of dog bite claims made to insurance companies has gone down over the years, but while the number of claims drops, the amount of money awarded to victims in dog bite cases is skyrocketing! From 2003 to 2010 the amounts awarded to dog bite victims rose 37%. In 2010, the average dog bite claim was $26,166, according to the Insurance Information Institute. They go on to explain that the average claim value has increased due to rising medical costs, larger settlements, jury awards, and judgments.
The legal system is starting to recognize the seriousness of dog attacks and their effects on the victim’s life. You may have heard of something called a “one bite” or “one chomp” law, where if you have been bitten one time and only one time the owner is not liable. In the state of California, this is not the case. Dog owners carry what is called a strict liability. That means they are entirely responsible for any damages caused by their dog including damage to property, medical costs, and any unrealized income due to missed work time.
In the state of California, State Farm settled 369 claims worth 11.3 million dollars in 2010. Making their average claim value roughly $30,500 for Californians. That is almost four grand above the national average. Depending on the severity of the attack you may be entitled to much more compensation. In dog bite cases where victims are left with permanent scarring or any physical or mental impairments, a much larger amount is appropriate to cover these life-altering traumas. Even if you are not left with physical disabilities after such an attack, the circumstances that lead to the incident can carry a huge weight as well. If you were somewhere that you had no reason to suspect a vicious dog will attack you, like at your place of work, or in a public place that does not allow dogs, you may be entitled to further compensation.
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It is tough navigating the claims process with insurance companies. At the end of the day, it is their job to keep as much money as they can, not to pay you the most. To see the full potential of your dog bite claim you need skilled personal injury attorneys working around the clock for you.