Insurance Industry 2017 Data Shows Florida Is One of the Leading States for Dog Bite Incidents

A recent nationwide study showed that the number of dog bite incidents across the U.S. increased 2.2 percent in 2017 when compared with 2016, and that Florida was one of the leading states for such incidents.  The study, which was conducted by insurance industry trade group the Insurance Information Institute (III) and State Farm, the largest homeowner’s insurer in the country, analyzed the number of homeowners’ insurance claims that were filed in 2017 relating specifically to dog bites and contains concerning findings showing an uptick in such claims.  However, it leaves out all the dog bite incidents where homeowners’ insurance claims were not filed, either because the dog owner did not have any insurance (whether homeowners, renters, umbrella or any other type of insurance) or sufficient assets to cover the damages caused to another person by his or her dog.  Therefore, the real statistics regarding the amount and seriousness of dog bite incidents nationwide and in Florida could very well be much worse than the picture presented in this study.

Dog bite claims are a serious problem in Florida, where, despite there sometimes being municipal bans against keeping pit bulls or other aggressive breeds as pets, many people nonetheless choose to do so anyway.  This can lead to grave consequences if those dogs end up mauling another person, as this study showed.  Florida had the second highest number of dog bite incidents in the nation according to the study and the highest average claim value, a sign that not only are Floridians more likely to be hurt by someone else’s dog, but their injuries are more likely to be more severe than those who may be injured in a dog bite incident in another state.

The Results of the III Study

Dog bites and other dog-related injuries accounted for more than one-third of all homeowners’ liability claim dollars paid out in 2017, costing insurers almost $700 million according to the III’s statistics. The III’s analysis of homeowners’ insurance data found that the number of dog bite claims nationwide increased to 18,522 in 2017, compared to 18,122 in 2016.  The average cost per claim nationwide increased by 11.5 percent. The average cost paid out for dog bite claims was $37,051 in 2017, compared with $33,230 in 2016.

The state with the second highest number of homeowners’ insurance claims related to dog bites last year was Florida at 1,345. The Sunshine State also was the state with the highest average cost per claim, at $44,700 per claim in 2017.  More people are therefore being bitten by dogs in the Sunshine State than in other states and Floridians’ injuries are often more serious than those injured in a dog bite incident in other state.

The Reality of Dog Bites in Florida

Persons attacked by dogs often suffer real and permanent injuries that can require costly and serious medical treatment, surgeries and therapies (accompanied by often excruciating pain and suffering) that may not even truly fix the damage caused by the dog bite.  Many dog bite incidents involve small children, who may end up with scars from the incident for the rest of their lives, simply because another person just felt that he or she had to own an aggressive dog breed but did not take any responsibility to train the dog or prevent it from causing injuries to another person.

The figures in the III study also ignore those dog owners who may not have homeowners’ insurance either because they do not own a home and are instead renting or because they do not carry any insurance whatsoever.  Therefore, the victim of a dog bite incident may be left without any recourse if the dog’s owner lacks any insurance coverage or the financial wherewithal to pay for the damages caused by his or her pets.  Dog bites are a very real problem in Florida, as these statistics show.

Have You Been Injured by a Dog Bite in Florida?  Contact the Experienced Personal Injury Attorneys of Schwed, Adams & McGinley Today

If you have been the victim of a dog bite in Florida, contact the experienced personal injury attorneys of Schwed, Adams, & McGinley, P.A. today.  Our attorneys have more than 150 years of combined practice representing victims of dog bites and their families.  Therefore, if you, a family member or a loved one have been injured by a pet owner’s failure to properly restrain his or her dog or other animal, contact Schwed, Adams & McGinley, P.A today at 877-694-6079 or contact@schwedlawfirm.com for a free consultation.

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