The Number of Dog Bite Claims in the U.S. Hits a Record-breaking High
Last year, according to Bloomberg Businessweek, there were 17,359 dog bite claims filed in the U.S. Increasing over six percent from 2012, this figure broke the record for the number of dog bite claims filed since 2003 and occurred even in the wake of stricter homeowner and liability insurance policies. Bloomberg Businessweek states that a growing number of insurers now only provide coverage if the dog owner has taken certain classes or require the owner to pay higher premiums if their dog is a certain breed.
However, the number of dog bite claims filed only provides a small glimpse into the number of dogs that bite and harm people every year. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it is estimated that dogs bite people approximately 4.5 million times a year.
Why dogs bite
Even if a dog seems sweet and cuddly, it still has the potential to bite and cause its victim to suffer from serious injuries. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, dogs bite for the following reasons:
- They find themselves in a stressful situation and feel the need to defend their territory
- They want to protect something that is valuable to them, like a favorite toy or their puppies
- They are feeling sick or sore and want to be left alone
- They are scared or were startled by something in their surroundings
Regardless of why a dog chooses to bite, the effects can be severe for their victims. For example, according to the Tampa Bay Times, a woman was bitten earlier this year by her neighbor’s dog as she was outside waiting for her husband. After the dog came charging toward her, she moved to go towards her door but the dog ended up jumping on her back, biting her elbow and the area above her left eye. The woman almost lost this eye and as the medical bills for her injuries started to come in, the vicious dog’s owner stopped responding to her, even after an agreement for the owner to take care of these costs had been made.
New Jersey owner liability laws
According to section 4:19-16 of the New Jersey Statutes, the owner of a dog who bites another person is responsible for these injuries if the bite occurred in a private place or lawfully in a public area, even if the dog never indicated any vicious behaviors in the past. If you were bitten and harmed by a dog, contact an attorney who can ensure that the owner of the animal is held responsible for their pet’s actions.