Dog bites account for a significant percentage of homeowners insurance liability claims throughout the United States. According to information from the Insurance Information Institute and State Farm, dog bites and dog-related injuries accounted for more than one-third of all homeowners insurance liability claim dollars paid out in 2014. More than $530 million was paid out in 2014 in connection with dog bites and dog-related injuries.
Notably, the number of dog bite claims actually decreased in 2014 by 4.7%. Despite the decrease, however, the actual average cost of each claim increased by 15%. The average cost for each claim nationwide was $32,072 in 2014, compared with $27,862 in 2013. What’s more, since 2003, the average cost of each claim has risen by more than 67%. According to the Insurance Information Institute, the increased costs can be attributed to rising medical costs, the size of settlements, and jury awards given to plaintiffs. Rising per claim payments can also be attributed to dogs knocking down persons and cyclists, which “can result in fractures and other blunt force trauma injuries that impact the potential severity of the losses.”
The study also identified the top 10 states with the largest number of claims. California ranked number one in the number of dog bite claims and related injuries with 1,867. Ohio ranked second with 1,009 claims and New York ranked third with 965 claims. Rounding out the top were Illinois, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Texas, Indiana, Georgia, and Wisconsin.
South Carolina’s Dog Bite Law
Under South Carolina law, a dog owner is liable for a dog attack:
If a person is bitten or otherwise attacked by a dog while the person is in a public place or is lawfully in a private place, including the property of the dog owner or person having the dog in the person’s care or keeping.
South Carolina’s dog bite law is a “strict liability” law. Under the law, a dog owner is liable for injuries caused by the dog, regardless if the dog owner did not know or could not have known that the dog would inflict the injuries. Notably, the person injured must be “lawfully” on the property, either through express or implied consent of the owner. Further, the statute does not apply if at the time the person is bitten or otherwise attacked, the person who was attacked provoked or harassed the dog and that provocation was the proximate cause of the attack. Please note, however, that merely petting or interacting with the dog is not considered provocation.
Contact a Greenville Personal Injury Attorney for Legal Advice
If you or a family member has been injured in a dog attack, a Greenville dog bite attorney can help you recover compensation for your injuries. David R. Price, Jr. is a Greenville, South Carolina, dog bite attorney who has experience helping victims protect their rights in dog bite attacks. In addition to dog bite claims, David R. Price, Jr. has experience helping victims in a variety of personal injury claims, including slip and falls, motor vehicle accidents, and defective products.
Contact David R. Price, Jr. for a free initial consultation and case evaluation. You can call us at 864-271-2636 or visit our office located at 318 West Stone Avenue in Greenville, South Carolina.
David Price is a Personal Injury, Civil Litigation, Collections, and Criminal Defense Attorney who practices in Greenville, SC. He graduated from the University of Georgia School of Law, and has been practicing law for 12 years. David Price believes in helping those who have been injured. Learn more about his experience by clicking here.