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The cost of dog bite claims soars

Every year in West Virginia, many people are bitten by dogs. These attacks can be very serious, resulting in permanent disfigurement, scarring, disability or death. Dog bite claims are quite expensive as well, with the national cost averaging around $37,000 per claim.

Traditionally, insurance companies have paid for dog bites that have occurred on the property of the dog's owner. The claims are paid through the owner's homeowner's insurance policy. Over the last 12 years, dog bite claims nationwide have dropped by 9 percent, but the costs for them have soared to $571 million, an increase of 94 percent.

One-third of the victims of dog bites are children under the age of 14. Postal workers are also frequently attacked. In 2015 alone, 6,549 postal workers were attacked by dogs while they were delivering mail. People should make sure that they have socialized their dogs with the members of their families. People should also avoid making eye contact with dogs that are behaving aggressively. Dog owners should secure their dogs if a strange person comes to the door, and they should not let children disturb a dog that is eating or sleeping.

If a person is legally on the premises of another person as an invited guest or to conduct business, the property owner owes a duty of care to keep the premises reasonably safe. This extends to keeping people safe from dog bites. Through a lawsuit filed with the assistance of an attorney, an injured victim may be able to recover monetary compensation to pay for medical bills and other losses that have been incurred as a result.

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