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Dog bite injury claims reaching record-high levels

It might seem like overkill to have to worry about receiving a dog bite injury. After all, with all the things that could harm people these days, an old-fashioned thing such as being bitten by a dog seems almost quaint. New Jersey residents who have lived through a dog bite injury, however, know that it is a very real, and very scary, thing.

The numbers bear that out. A recent analysis of insurance claims found that the average cost per claim in the United States as of last year was nearly $28,000. And the total number of claims last year reached its highest level ever: 17,359 claims were filed across the country, an increase of 5.5 percent. In total, that led to insurance claims of more than $483 million. The most expensive claims were in New York; New Jersey did not make the top 10.

As one expert points out, dog attacks are almost always the fault of the dog owner -- for failing to keep control of their animal. This means that dog bite cases may be relatively straightforward. The increase in popularity of certain aggressive breeds such as pit bulls might factor into this as well; however, some animal trainers say that encouraging people to be responsible dog owners is a better option than banning some breeds outright.

Another thing to note: the old cliché about dogs biting mail carriers is actually pretty much true. Last year, the U.S. Postal Service said that more than 5,500 of its workers were the victims of canine attacks.

Source: Carrier Management, "Dogs Biting U.S. Insurers; Record Claims in 2013," Craig Giammona, May 14, 2014

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