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Dog bite claims for American insurance companies rose 5.5 percent to 17,359 in 2013, breaking the previous record set in 2003. According to the Insurance Information Institute, dog bites cost the insurance industry $483.7 million last year.

California led the country with the highest number of dog bite claims at 1,919. The dog bite claims in that state cost an average of $33,709. The state of New York had the costliest dog bite claims, averaging $43,122. The national average paid by insurance companies for dog bite claims last year was $27,862.

With 221 reported claims, Ohio was number 3 of the list of the top 15 states for 2013 dog bite claims. Over $4 million were paid out to dog bite victims in Ohio last year. Illinois, Texas, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Indiana, Minnesota and Georgia round out the top ten. We have previously posted about the cost of dog bite claims nationally.

Every year, over 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs in the United States. According to noted dog trainer and star of Animal Planet’s It’s Me or the Dog, Victoria Stilwell, “the most effective way to prevent dog bites is not to ban certain breeds of dog, but to raise awareness of canine behavior through education, as well as encouraging responsible dog ownership.” When it comes to reducing dog bites, education about responsible pet ownership and proper interaction with dogs is critically important, said Stilwell.

May 18-24, 2014 has been designated National Dog Bite Prevention Week. In recognition of this annual event, The National Dog Bite Prevention Week Coalition provided some disturbing statistics:

  • According to the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, dog bites were the 11th leading cause of nonfatal injury to children ages 1-4; 9th for ages 5-9 and 11th for ages 10-14.
  • Sixty-six percent of bites to children occur to the head and neck. Children, the elderly and postal carriers are the most frequent victims of dog attacks.
  • The American Society of Plastic Surgeons reports that 26,935 reconstructive procedures were performed in the United States in 2013 to repair injuries resulting from dog bites.

The Ohio dog bite attorneys at Clark, Perdue & List are experienced in handling claims for dog bites. If you or a loved one has suffered injury as a result of an encounter with a dog, call Clark, Perdue & List.