Homeowner Liability Increased Significantly for Dog Bite Claims
National Dog Bite Prevention Week occurred the second week of this month, with the purpose of educating dog owners and the general public about how to prevent dog bites. The IIHS and State Farm released a report for this event that revealed how much dog bite claims have increased over the paste decade.
Since 2006 the number of dog bite claims against homeowners has increased by 20%. The average payout of a dog bite claim has also increased, by over $11,ooo. In 2016 the total payouts for dog bite claims totaled over $600 million.
According to experts, the increase in payoff values is not due to policies, but rather more severe bites- especially including children.
Florida Dog Bite Liability
In Florida, the dog owner is strictly liable for damages if the animal bites someone or causes injury. The god doesn’t have to have had previously displayed aggression or caused injury to be held liable. Due to limited statutory defenses, a dog bite claim can be really hard to pursue and win without an experienced attorney.
Liability can also be called into question when it is proved that the animal was provoked persistently by an individual, or if a trespasser ignores a “beware of dog sign”.
Tips to Prevent Dog Bites
Victoria Stillwell, a well-known dog trainer recommends the following to keep people safe:
- Learn the body language of dogs. Dogs give many signals if they are uncomfortable or stressed such as yawning, putting their tail between their legs or having the hair on their back raise.
- Give them space. Let them come into your space to say hi before going up to them.
- Be humane. Dogs treated in a humane way are more confident, friendly and less likely to be vicious compared to a dog who receives negative reinforcement.