There are an estimated 4.7 million dog bites each year in the U.S., making up one-third of homeowner liability claims. However, even with the millions of dog bites, only about 15,000 claims are made each year.
Since most homeowner policies cover dog bites, it is surprising how many dog bite victims are choosing not to ask for compensation for their injuries.
Cost Of Dog Bite Injuries
The costs associated with dog bites have continued to increase. In 2003, the average cost for a dog bite injury was $19,162. In eight years, that amount as increased 53%. In 2011 the average cost had rose to $29,396. These are high costs that no victim should have to pay with their own insurance or worse, out of their own pocket.
One out of every six dog bites will need some sort of medical care. This can be as simple as a few stitches or as complicated as multiple surgeries. It all depends on the extent of the injury. Major damage can also require therapy and loss of time at work or school. Some of the costs a victim of a dog bite needs to consider are:
- Medical expenses. The expenses can include the ambulance ride, emergency room visit, hospital stay, surgeries and all follow-up visits for the injury. There may also be prescriptions, medical devices and physical therapy needed.
- Loss of work or school. Adult victims may have time lost from work and lose wages due to their injuries. Children, who have the largest percentage of attacks, may lose time away from their education.
- Emotional suffering. Some dog victims are traumatized by the event and have a fear of dogs. Some victims even are afraid to leave their homes. Dealing with the aftermath of a traumatic attack may take counseling to heal the emotional scars even well after the physical ones are mended.
- Physical disfigurement. Perhaps the most substantial element of damages related to dog bites and attack cases is attributed to the scars that frequently accompany bites and puncture wounds. Many of these bite inflicted wounds are difficult to heal and result in permanent scars that are a lingering reminder of an attack.
Step For Victims To Take
If you or a loved one is the victim of a dog attack, you need to know your options. With only 15,000 claims each year out of an estimated 800,000 dog bites needing medical attention, too many victims are paying for these bites out of their own pocket. Some steps to take after an attack to get compensated for your injuries:
- Get insurance information. If you know who owns the dog, get their insurance information. Even if the attack did not happen at their home, their insurance may cover their dog biting you.
- File a police report. It is important to document the attack with local authorities. Depending on where you live and the type of attack, this may be with the police or with animal control authorities.
- Photograph your injuries. Get photos of all your injuries as soon as possible as evidence.
- Hire an attorney. You may need an attorney to help you negotiate with the dog owner and insurance companies.
No victim of an unprovoked dog attack should have to pay for the injuries they sustained and the other costs involved. Dog owners need to be held responsible for the actions of their dog and cover the damages, either through their insurance or out of their own pocket.
Animal Attack Lawyers In Illinois
Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers LLC has helped dog bite victims across Illinois recover maximum compensation for their injuries. Put our experience to work for you today. We offer free consultations and will come to you.