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What to know about dog bites and homeowners insurance

There are roughly 4.5 million dog bites reported in Georgia and throughout the United States each year according to the American Veterinary Medical Association. With 6,244 incidents reported in 2017, postal workers were bitten the most often. Roughly 20 percent of bites require treatment in an emergency room. In 2017, the average dog bite homeowners insurance claim cost $37,051, and claims related to dog bites made up one-third of all homeowners insurance claims.

The severity of injuries and the associated medical costs are among the reasons cited for why the cost of such claims rose 11 percent in 2017. The cost of a dog bite claim has gone up 90 percent between 2003 and 2017. There are ways in which a dog owner can minimize the odds that their pet will bite someone. For instance, owners can reward the dog with treats when it behaves properly as opposed to punishing it for doing something wrong.

Supervising the dog when it is around children and socializing the dog to alleviate its fear of people can also reduce the odds it will bite someone. Furthermore, dog owners should be sure to take their dog to the vet if it is acting erratically as it could be a sign of a medical problem that is causing pain.

If a person is bitten by a dog, it could cause serious injury. An individual may be able to take legal action against the owner of the dog by filing a premises liability lawsuit if the bite occurred at the owner's house. If it took place anywhere else, the victim may still be able to file a personal injury lawsuit. If successful, a victim might receive compensation for current and future medical bills, lost wages and other damages related to a dog bite incident.

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