Every year, thousands of victims end up in hospitals with serious and sometimes life-threatening dog bite injuries. In 2021, for the first time since 2015, Arizona was listed in the top ten states for the number of dog bite insurance claims filed. According to the Insurance Information Institute, 489 dog bite claims were filed at an average cost of around $43,059 per claim. If you were bitten by a dog in Arizona, a dog bite injury lawyer can help you seek compensation.
Dog ownership has increased nationwide over the last few decades, in some states more than others. Pet ownership statistics show that the states with the highest number of households with at least one pet are Wyoming, West Virginia, Idaho and Vermont (all above 70 percent). The top states for dog ownership are Montana, Arkansas, Mississippi, West Virginia and Indiana.
Arizona is not one of the top states for pet or dog ownership. It falls somewhere in the middle, with 58 percent of households reporting at least one pet and 43 percent reporting dog ownership. California has the lowest pet ownership statistics, at 40.1 percent. Yet Arizona was in the top ten states for the number of dog bite injury claims in 2021.
When someone gets bitten by a dog, he or she may be able to recover financial compensation for related medical bills, property damage, lost wages, legal expenses and other losses through the pet owner’s property insurance company. The victim’s rights depend on the dog bite law in the state where the incident took place. Every year, insurance companies across the country pay millions of dollars in dog injury claims.
The top ten states in 2021 were:
The total cost of dog bite injury insurance claims in the United States in 2021 was $881.9 million. This was an increase of 3.2 percent from $853.7 million in 2020. Typically, home insurance covers dog bite injuries, as pets are considered property. Whether or not a victim has to prove a pet owner’s negligence to qualify for coverage depends on state law.
The Insurance Information Institute has dog bite claim data going back to 2013, organized by the top ten states each year. 2021 marked the first time in six years – since 2015 – that Arizona was listed in the top ten states. In 2015, Arizona came in at number nine, between Wisconsin and Georgia.
Arizona’s total number of dog bite claims was 393 in 2015, with a total claim value of $22.3 million. Despite being lower on the list in 2021, Arizona’s number of dog bite claims has increased drastically from the last time it made the top ten. It has risen by a startling 78 percent to 900 claims in 2021.
Certain dog breeds tend to be viewed as more dangerous than others. The most infamous example is the pit bull. The danger of the pit bull is a topic of great debate among pet owners and the public. There is some truth to this stigma beyond simple stereotyping, however. Statistics show a consistent trend in the number of fatal dog attacks year after year; without fail, the highest number of fatal attacks are pit bulls. In 2019, 69 percent of fatal dog attacks involved pit bulls.
Pit bulls were also the most commonly identified breed involved in major injury incidents. The second most dangerous dog breed was Mixed-Breed at 13 percent, followed by Rottweilers (8 percent). Other dangerous dog breeds that are frequently on the fatal dog attack list include Boxers, mastiffs and German Shepherds. Factors that go into making certain dogs more dangerous include physical characteristics such as head shape and weight and where they tend to bite victims.
Any breed of dog could attack a victim and potentially cause injuries. Predicting aggressive behaviors typically has more to do with environmental factors than the breed of the dog. Aggressive behaviors include biting, snapping, snarling and growling. A recent dog behavior study identified an association between aggressive dog behaviors and the following factors:
However, the study also found trends between certain dog breeds and aggressive behaviors. The breeds with the highest odds of aggressive behavior were Rough Collie, Miniature Poodle (toy, miniature and medium-sized), and Miniature Schnauzer. The breeds with the lowest odds of aggression were Labrador Retriever, Golden Retriever and Lapponian Herder.
If you get bitten by a dog, try to remain calm and get to a safe place. Contact the proper authorities, including the police in an emergency and your local animal control center. Reporting dog attacks to the city is important for record-keeping purposes; if the animal has a history of attacking other people, this can make it easier to collect insurance benefits from the pet owner’s insurer.
Go to a hospital immediately for professional medical care for a dog bite injury that breaks the skin. You could be at risk of medical complications such as infections, diseases, and permanent scarring or disfigurement. When you are ready to pursue financial compensation for a dog bite injury in Arizona, contact an attorney at Stone Rose Law for a free case consultation. Our dog bite injury lawyers can help you understand and protect your rights.