Dog Bite Liabilities

Insurance For Dog Bites and Preventing a Lawsuit     

Dog bites account for more than 90% of all animal bites and approximately 4.5 million dog bites occur each year in the U.S. With more than 30,000 victims requiring reconstructive surgery, while you may be a responsible pet owner, you can’t always predict how your dog may react to another person. It is not uncommon to have an unprovoked attack, as any motion that your dog perceives as a potential threat could set an attack into motion.

A dog, for whatever reason, may become irritated and it’s up to you to recognize and avoid situations where a dog might become uncomfortable, such as being repeatedly struck in the face by a child, or any other situations that could possibly irritate the animal. In the event there is an attack, provoked or otherwise, you’re going to need the protection of insurance for dog bites.

Dog bite prevention requires safety and a little common sense

It may, as is often the case, be an unfortunate friend or family member who gets bitten. As a pet owner you need to do everything in your means to prevent an attack and reduce the possibility of a lawsuit. All dog owners have the same concerns when it comes to their pet biting or harming someone.

Just because your dog may have never bitten someone before doesn’t mean that it can’t or won’t happen. Use of the following safety tips can help to aid in preventing the occurrence of dog bites. Always put the animal on a leash whenever you take him or her for a walk. Avoid allowing children to pet the animal if you sense that it is feeling scared or nervous.

As a parent, do not allow your child to approach a stray or unfamiliar dog, especially if the owner is not present. Never approach a dog with quick motions and ask the owner if it’s okay to pet the dog prior to making contact. If a confrontation occurs, avoid screaming or running away, and avoid approaching an unfamiliar dog while it is eating, sleeping, or caring for puppies. Finally, don’t leave young children or infants unsupervised with a dog.

Choosing a dog breed that is compatible with any family situation is always best. For example, aggressive dogs are never ideal in a home with small children. Dogs are social animals and therefore socializing and appropriate training will help minimize the risk of dog bites, but this isn’t an excuse for not carrying ample insurance for dog bites.

Pet Liabilities and Dog Bite Homeowner Insurance

Dog bite homeowner insurance is important to secure, particularly for owners of certain breeds known for aggressive or assertive behavior. Often genetics play a key role in this issue. But some dogs also tend to be influenced by their owner’s temperament as well, and the size of the dog can also be a determining factor in just how serious the problem can be.

The issue of dog bite liabilities is obviously one of concern. Many of the dogs involved tend to be family pets, rather than strays, and more than two-thirds of dog bites happen to people already acquainted with the dog. A majority of dog bites occur to the very young and very old, and almost half of all bites to children, due to their smallness in height, are in the facial area. Many claims made against homeowner’s insurance policies are often due to dog bites.

 

Behavior modification can help to resolve some issues

At an early age puppies develop bonds and sensitivity to those people and animals in their lives, and if a young pup is not exposed to positive interaction with dogs during this period they often grow up without the necessary skills to deal with other dogs. They also may never be comfortable with people outside of their owner if not given the proper exposure. If the socialization process is delayed until the puppy is older, the dog may never be relaxed or never become socially interactive with people or other dogs.
It’s important that any children in the household handle the dog frequently and gently and never scold or speak harshly to the pet. Holding the puppy firmly and resisting the temptation to let go of it (when it squirms to be released) can also help to minimize later aggression and dominant behavior.
As the dog gets older there may come a time when most normal dogs begin to bark at strangers and guard the family and it’s property. This is normal behavior, however some dogs may begin to show objectionable aggressive behavior. Make the dog aware that this is a problem. Obedience training can help to correct these types of issues, but dog bites are often the result of fear and uncertainty in the animal as well. Dog bite homeowner insurance is the solution when an unfortunate attack occurs.

Dog Liability Insurance for the At-Risk Owner

As a dog owner you are exposed to the possibility that your dog may inadvertently or otherwise be responsible for biting someone, as well as causing other canine-inflicted injuries. The fact is that dogs bite at least 4.5 million Americans every year, with children being the victims of some of the more serious attacks, and the annual losses exceed $1 billion annually.

Because the dog owner’s own relatives, friends and neighbors are oftentimes the most likely victims of a possible dog attack, having dog liability insurance in Florida means protecting the people who are closest to you. Why wouldn’t you want this to be the case? After all, it equates to protecting valuable relationships, as well as ensuring that loved ones, when injured, will receive the treatment they deserve.

 

Some home and renters policies may not provide enough

Since there is no law that requires homeowners and renters insurance policies to provide coverage for injuries, damages and losses inflicted by dogs, you might want to purchase a stand-alone policy. The sad fact is that, consequently, there are homeowners and renters policies that exclude injuries caused by a dog, or any animal for that matter, while other policies may exclude injuries caused by certain breeds of dog.

Some insurance companies have even expressed concerns in selling homeowners insurance to the owners of certain breeds of dogs (such as pit bulls, Rottweilers, Akitas and Chow-Chows, to name a few), which have a reputation for being a danger to others and encounters often end up with someone being bitten.

Furthermore, there are policies out there that don’t offer adequate coverage, which is why pet owners need to do research and due diligence when shopping for the proper coverage for their particular situation. Traditionally, the minimum limit for personal liability coverage has been $100,000. But a limit of $300,000 is more appropriate if your household contains, let’s say, a medium sized dog, as the higher limit is a requisite of a personal excess policy.

No dog owner should purchase a homeowner policy or renter’s policy that excludes canine-inflicted injuries, unless he or she buys a supplemental Florida dog liability insurance policy that covers them in the event that anyone is bitten by their pet.

 

Enthusiastic Hand Feeding Can End Up as a Dog Bite Liability Claim

It may be common to think that incidents involving aggressive pets and lawsuits always stem from incidents of aggressive biting, but a recent claim illustrates that although the destination may be the same, the road that lead there was an unexpected one. In this case, an extremely joyful and very friendly Golden Retriever was rather over-exuberant in his rush to get some juicy tidbits from the neighbor when he and his owner were out for a walk. The neighbor had been hand-feeding the pet, who was happily gobbling with gusto—and before anyone realized it, the animal confused fingers with chicken, and a small bite ensued. The surprise more than the pain caused the neighbor to fall back into the street, where she hit her head on the concrete curb. Medical costs to pay for the woman’s serious head injuries amounted to more than $40,000—an amount that the owner would have had to pay out of pocket had he not purchased dog bite liability insurance.

What the policy covers

Very simply, the coverage offers protection for pet owners in the event that a bite causes bodily injury. It stands apart from competing products because no breed is excluded from coverage, regardless of the breed’s reputation for aggression or otherwise dangerous behavior (e.g., Pit Bulls, German Shepherds, Rottweilers, Doberman Pinschers, Chow-Chow, wolf or wolf-hybrid, Akita, etc.), and policies are available for purchase in every state. What’s more, owners are often pleasantly surprised to learn how reasonably priced the coverage is.

It’s not always the teeth that get you

As the above scenario illustrates, dog bite liability is not only for those who own pets that many may consider “aggressive” or “dangerous”—because injuries can occur from unexpected occurrences having to do with your pet as you go about your ordinary routine. And since medical costs and claims can be substantial, it may be unwise to rely on the relatively small amount of coverage, if any, that a standard homeowners or renters policy may afford you (and too expensive to purchase other types of add-on policies essentially for this one risk). Talk to your professional insurance agent to learn more about this protection. Your agent can contact insurers that offer this coverage so that you’ll see that the peace of mind the additional coverage offers you may be available at a price that is quite affordable. Call your agent today.

Are Pit Bulls Always a Walking Insurance Liability?

Michelle was talking to her friend about her dog, and how sweet she was. “I’ve had her since she was a puppy,” said the proud owner. Yet the men who were renovating her house recently were rather reticent to come into the home until she’d promised the pet had been locked in a room where she couldn’t escape. The reason: the animal was a pit bull, revealed the owner almost reluctantly. “But she’s not like what you hear about in the news–she has never been aggressive, she has never bitten or even snapped at any other person or other animal, and I really don’t believe that she represents any type of additional dog bite insurance liability to me,” said Michelle.

Pit bulls are often in the news today. Famous for the strength of their jaws and originally bred to fight, a study of data collected from 1982-2011 found pit bulls among the breeds most often responsible for human fatalities and injuries. However, some experts agree with Michelle–that it’s all in the breeding. Michelle purchased a pet that had been bred responsibly by a breeder with many years of experience in the business, who carefully selected sires and dams for a variety of desirable traits, including conformation, color and size but most importantly, disposition. Furthermore, the puppies from each litter were handled from birth, ensuring they would be familiar with human touch and smell from day one.

After several weeks with the breeder, it was time for the owner to take it from there. Armed with very clear instructions and a continuing relationship that encouraged continued communication, Michelle went home with her new puppy and began socializing her from the moment they got home. She showed her pup her new surroundings, enrolled her in puppy training so she would follow commands and understand that Michelle was the “alpha dog” in the house, and taught the pet to interact with friends and family. She introduced new things to the cute little dog carefully and intentionally, so the animal grew up feeling secure, loved, and unthreatened. She was much like the beloved animal in the old Little Rascals shorts decades ago, Petey–a fun-loving, long-suffering dog that was game to be part of any wild ride the kids had planned. With his signature ring around his eye drawn for comic effect, many folks have forgotten that Petey just happened to be a pit bull, said Michelle.

Accidents are no joke, and any responsible owner should realize that their animals, no matter how gentle, could potentially cause injury to another–so it’s still a good idea to have dog bite insurance. But when you meet a pit bull, don’t assume it’s going to be bad news–there are plenty of these dogs that are lovable friends, too.

Dog Bite Insurance and Obeying Leash Laws

Dog owners should not underestimate the importance of obeying leash laws in their city or state. Aside from the obvious concerns over citations and fines for not having your dog properly leashed when the animal is on public streets or in restricted areas, in Florida there are 67 counties, most of which have a dog leash law in place. In the event your dog does wander off and bites or injures a person or another animal you’re going to need dog bite insurance to help pay any costs from medical bills or lawsuits.

Why obeying leash laws is important

When in public places like parks, playgrounds, and on sidewalks it’s important for a dog owner to maintain control over a dog in any given situation. In addition, it’s also a necessity to maintain control and all safety precautions while the dog is in or near the owner’s property as well as in residential neighborhoods. It’s your responsibility to keep your pet from jumping on strangers, wandering in front of a car, and also to prevent him or her from having a surprise confrontation with another dog.

With or without a dog leash law in place owners should take all reasonable steps to ensure that the dog is not a threat to others. Unfortunately, there are instances where adults and children are attacked by dogs and may unfortunately suffer serious personal injuries. While not all incidents and injuries can be prevented, by obeying and following the local leash laws owners can help reduce the incidence of dog bite attacks. Common sense dictates that it is advisable to follow these laws for the safety and welfare of others and the community in general, and carry dog bite insurance when an unforeseen incident happens.

Protect Both You and Your Pet With Dog Bite Insurance

Your dog is considered a beloved member of your family, which means you must protect it all times. Such protection must include suitable insurance in the event that dog bite liabilities should occur. Such insurance can spare the devastating financial ramifications often associated with dog attacks and the like.

Accidents Can Happen

Unfortunately, owning a pet can be an unpredictable undertaking. This means that even the best-behaved animals can have slip ups from time to time, whether due to encountering an unknown individual, or even by being released inadvertently. If an attack should result from these circumstances, the right insurance coverage can be crucial.

Dog Bite Insurance Covers a Variety of Breeds

No matter what type of dog you ultimately own, there are a variety of policies suited to virtually every breed imaginable. This ensures that each and every dog owner can tailor an insurance policy to their specific needs, no matter what they may be. In many cases, monthly fees for policies are incredibly low, which means that all owners can implement the right insurance to remain protected.

A Healthy, Happy Pet Requires the Right Coverage

Warding off dog bite liabilities requires suitable insurance coverage. Such coverage can afford funding for medical treatments related to attacks, as well as any incurred legal fees. With this protection in place, you can rest assured that both you and your pet will remain covered if an incident should occur.

 

photo credit: catd_mitchell cc