Dog Bite related injury claims are on the rise! Every year thousands of dog bites injury claims are being made and according to the Insurance Information Institute. Since 2003, the yearly average of claims has increased by 23.61% in the last decade. In fact, some homeowners insurance does not cover pit bulls and other noted aggressive breeds.

Personal Injury Attorneys like Arash Law handle dog bite cases each month, and has some insights for dog owners and bitten victims. For both, it is important to consider these key factors when inquiring about an attack. Dog owners are always held responsible whether the incident took place in a public place or owner’s property and the victim was invited. Some may even ask what if they provoked the dog. The owner will still be held responsible for the attack. Some states like Texas does practice the One-Free-Bite-Rule which states the dog/dog owner cannot be liable unless it has had a history of attacks before.

So what happens if your dog bites someone? If the incident took part in your household and has your homeowners insurance does cover dog bite injuries, then you’re in luck. The typical homeowner’s insurance policy sets the liability at $100,000 to $300,000. But, do keep in mind that any costs above the policy limits will be the homeowner’s responsibility.

If the dog attack took part outside your property, such as a car or park. Then your homeowners insurance may cover the damages if you rent, renter’s insurance can also cover the liability. Property owners are not liable for renter’s animal attacks unless they are aware of the animal’s aggressive tendencies. Animal/pet insurance may also cover attack incidents where your homeowner does not.

If your dog is known to be very aggressive towards property or has social fears towards other animals/humans, then it is best to keep them at home. Some dogs also carry instincts that chase runners and cyclists, so dog owners should be aware of their surroundings when bringing their dogs to public areas.

Keep watch of warning signs that a dog might bite someone. Keep watch of their behavior. Ears that are pinned back and barking are clear warnings that a dog wants that person/other dog to step back. If their hair start to stand up and eyes widen then they are showing agitated/ aggressive behavior.

Dog owners should do their best to training their dogs to be socially friendly to other animals and people. Training them to be social at birth is ideal to spread familiarity with others. Exercise and play with your dog outside of your home is a great way to enforce human and animal interaction. Never let your dog roam free, a non-leashed dog can add to the negligence of the owner if the dog does attack someone. If your dog continues to show aggression, it is best to seek professional help such as a veterinarian. Having the dog neutered might reduce their aggressive tendencies and all dogs should be up to date with their shots to prevent the spread of viral diseases such as rabies. It is best to remember that all dog owners have a huge responsibility when taking in a new pet and if your dog bites someone and you do not have any coverage then you will be fully responsible for the financial outcomes of your pet.