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Dog bite claims rise among homeowners

Dog owners in New York should be aware of the dangers that their pet can pose to themselves, their family and others. Dog bite claims made up one-third of all homeowner liability insurance claims in 2017, with an average pay-out of just above $37,000. The American Veterinary Medical Association states that every year in the U.S., there are approximately 4.5 million reports of dog bites. One out of every five dog bites result in emergency room visits.

The most frequent victims are postal workers and children. The former reported 6,244 dog bite incidents in 2017. Though there are between 70 million and 90 million pet dogs in this country, the number is still staggering. Also noteworthy is the fact that, from 2003 to 2017, the average cost per claim has risen by 90 percent. The increase in medical costs is partly to blame.

To minimize the chances of a dog bite, the American Veterinary Medical Association recommends a few steps. Those who are currently training their dogs should emphasize methods that reward rather than punish. Vets can help owners find a good training program. They should also socialize their dog while at the same time learning its body language. Supervising dogs when they're around children is essential, as dogs are known to get nervous around children.

Victims of dog bites will be filing a premises liability claim if they intend to receive compensation for their medical bills, any income lost during the physical recovery and any physical or emotional trauma. This is where a personal injury lawyer may be able to come in, evaluate the claim and help gather evidence against the dog owner. The lawyer might do this with the help of an in-house team of investigators and medical experts, and he or she may handle all negotiations once the case is ready.

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