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Animal bites: specific breeds affect ability to obtain insurance

Many Wisconsin homeowners and others around the nation have policies that provide coverage for medical expenses, should someone suffer an injury in their homes. There are many insurance companies that cover animal bites in these policies. However, there is an increasing trend within the insurance industry to limit coverage for owners of certain dog breeds.

In fact, there are several dog breeds that have been determined to be vicious. Owners of these breeds may be unable to get homeowners insurance. According to a dog bite prevention organization, there are roughly 9,500 hospitalizations annually related to dog bites. Around 1,000 individuals seek emergency medical treatment for dog bites every day.

Over one-third of the total claim dollars paid for homeowners insurance liability is related to dog bites. More than $600 million was paid to victims in 2016. Estimates range widely from $1B to $2B for monetary losses by dog attack victims.

There are now over 1,000 cities in the country that have laws related to specific dog breeds. It would be important for dog owners to understand laws pertaining to their breeds and take appropriate steps to acquire adequate coverage. Statistics show that there was an increase in the number of dog attacks on U.S Postal service employees in 2016. In fact, Los Angeles was the city with the most attacks on postal workers for the year.

Animal bites, particularly dog bites, can be very dangerous and require extensive medical treatment. Should someone be the victim of a dog bite, he or she may wish to file a personal injury lawsuit against the dog's owner. In a strict liability state like Wisconsin, the owner is liable for the dog's actions even if the dog has shown no aggressive behavior in the past. An experienced attorney will strive for a successful outcome in the proceedings, which could provide compensation for hospital bills, ongoing rehabilitation or trauma-related therapy.

Source:, "Dog Bite Statistics", Allen McQuiston, Jan. 2, 2018

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