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Brent Adams & Associates

The Financial Side of a Dog Bite

When we hear about dog bites and dog attacks on the news and in our communities, the physical and emotional costs of the injuries are clear. Dog bites can cause deep lacerations, scarring, infection, nerve damage and tissue damage - and dog bites can also lead to emotion issues like post traumatic stress, anxiety, and depression.

However, it is important to remember that dog bites can also cost you and your family financially. Medical bills can be extremely high - especially if they include an emergency room visit, surgery, or extended hospital stays. Ongoing medical treatments are also often necessary with serious dog mauling cases, such as therapy and reconstructive surgery.

In fact, in 2008, according to the Insurance Information Institute (III) dog bites and dog attacks cost insurance companies $387 million in claims in the United States alone. All in all, dog bite claims made up a shocking 33% of all homeowners insurance liability claims and rose 9% from last year, as almost half of dog bite injuries take place on the property of the dog owner. As of this writing, the average cost of an individual dog bite claim was just over $24,000.

Why are costs so high? The Center for Disease Control reported that 30,000 dog bite victims required reconstructive plastic surgery to minimize scarring and deformations caused by serious dog attacks. These surgeries may need to be repeated and can cost tens of thousands of dollars each.

Also consider the need for some victims to receive counseling to get over the trauma of the attack. Physical therapy, some short-term and some long-term, might be prescribed during recovery as well. Individuals should gather all medical evidence to show what treatments were due to the attack. Combine medical records with documentation of lost work and wages, and review items with a dog bite attorney to learn about how to start the process for filing a claim and what the law provides for your case.