We now live in a world where pets are more welcome in more places than ever before. You see people with their animals in the mall, on airplanes, on public transportation, and just about anywhere you go. Pets are like a part of our families and we care about them very much. However, when you get bit by someone’s dog, it can be a traumatic event that can actually leave you seriously injured.
When you are the victim of such an attack, you deserve compensation for the injuries you suffer. Some states, by the numbers, are more prone to dog attacks than others. Let’s look at the top ten states with the most dog bite claims, and discover what you should do if you get bitten by a dog either at home or when you’re traveling.
Top Ten States for Dog Bite Claims
Here are the top ten states for dog bite claims in 2014, the average cost per claim, and the total amount awarded that year.
- California: There were 1,867 claims in 2014, with the average cost per claim being $33,649 and the total awards amounting to $62.8 million
- Ohio: In Ohio, there were 1,009 such claims in 2014. On average, a claim cost $21,983, and $22.2 million was paid out in all.
- New York: In New York in 2014, there were 910 dog bite claims, at a cost of $56,628 per claim and total awards in the amount of $51.5 million.
- Illinois: In 2014 in Illinois, there were 872 dog bite cases, each one worth on average $34,894, for a grand total of $30.4 million paid out.
- Pennsylvania: In Pennsylvania, there were 861 dog bite claims filed in 2014 and each averaged $26,211. The total awards were $22.6 million.
- Michigan: Michigan saw 693 claims of this nature in 2014, with the average value being $38,302 and the total awards amounting to $26.5 million.
- Texas: The number of dog bite claims in 2014 was $621. The average cost was $16,205 and the total payouts were $10.1 million.
- Indiana: in Indiana in 2014, the courts saw 481 cases at an average cost of $21,287. There was a total of $10.2 million handed down in awards.
- Georgia: In 2014, Georgia had 388 dog bite claims, each worth around $31,497 on average. The grand total was $12.2 million.
- Wisconsin: In Wisconsin in the year 2014, there were 388 dog bite lawsuits. The average cost of one was $26,873 and awards totaled $10.4 million.
Dog Owners and Liability for Dog Bites
Dog bite cases are generally civil suits. That means they don’t carry a criminal penalty (though sometimes criminal charges can be pursued separately). Civil suits are focused on compensating the victims of irresponsible or careless behavior for the damage they’ve suffered due to someone else’s actions.
While the specifics of dog bites vary from place to place and case to case, certain universals are generally held true. The victim must be able to prove negligence on the part of the dog’s owner. This means that they must have behaved in a way counter to that of a reasonable person (or failed to behave as a reasonable person would). This behavior must be shown to have directly contributed to an accident, and you must have gotten hurt as a result of the accident.
Dangerous Animals and the One Bite Rule
In addition, you should be able to demonstrate that the dog’s owner was aware their animal had a tendency to cause that sort of injury. State dog bite statutes apply here, however, and in Louisiana we have what is known as the “one bite rule.” This means that while there are not specific statutes addressing dog bites, if you can demonstrate that the owner knew their dog would bite and failed to take precautions against it, then they are liable for your injuries.
This generally means, however, that if the dog had never before behaved in a threatening manner and had never hurt another person, it can be more difficult to pursue a claim. Basically, a dog has to have bitten before to be established as potentially dangerous.
Should I Call a Dog Bite Lawyer?
Even if the dog hasn’t bitten anyone before, that doesn’t necessarily mean you don’t have a case at all. Your best bet is to contact a qualified dog bite lawyer for help. If you’re in the Lafayette area and you need help with a dog bite case, contact Blaine Barrilleaux for a free consultation today.