May 20 2012

Insurance Payouts Rise Over Dog Bites

by admin in Personal Injury

In January 2012, the Houston Chronicle reported on a fatal dog attack on a one-year-old child in Montgomery County, Texas.

The child was mauled by a pit bull at his grandparents’ home in Montgomery County, the Chronicle reported. As children many of us cherished visits with our grandparents. Tragically for this toddler it proved to be a fateful visit.

The child was with his 45-year-old grandmother when he was attacked by the pit bull. The child’s grandfather arrived home to a horrifying scene. He called the police.  By the time a deputy arrived he was unable to control this vicious dog and ended up shooting it dead.

As experienced Houston dog bite injury attorneys we see far too many cases of dog attacks. Many of them involve dangerous breeds such as pit bulls. And official statistics suggest they are on the rise.

An Associated Press report pointed out the insurance company State Farm paid more than $109 million on about 3,800 dog bite claims nationwide in 2011. This was a rise on the previous year when there were about 3,500 claims and $90 million was made in payouts in 2012.

According to the Insurance Information Institute approximately $479 million in dog bite claims were paid out by all insurance companies in 2011, spokeswoman Loretta Worters told Associated Press.  In 2010 this figure was $413 million.

It’s not clear if more dogs are attacking or if more victims are contacting injury lawyers to maximize their payouts.

But the figures are worrying. State Farm’s figures suggest Texas has the third worst problem for dog bites in the nation.

California saw the most payouts. There were 527 claims filed in California and victims received $20.3 million, a rise of 31 percent over 2010. It was followed by Illinois with 309 claims amounting to  $10 million and Texas with 219 claims amounting to  $5.1 million.


The AP report suggested the people most likely to be victims are children and postal workers. Each year 4.7 million people are bitten by dogs and more 50 percent of the victims are children, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Of the victims about 800,000 people seek medical attention for dog bites. Less than half of those people require treatment and about 16 die, according to agency figures.

There are few more horrifying experiences for a child than being attacked by a dog. In some cases it may be a family dog that they have grown to love. Children may suffer permanent physical and mental scars from the ordeal.

When an owner has failed to restrain a dog the victim will have a clear case to make a claim.

Texas adheres to the so-called “one bite rule.” This means a victim can recover from a the owner or keeper of a dog if the dog previously bit a person or acted like it wanted to and the owner was aware of the dog’s previous conduct. Although this can limit the ability of victims to recover damages, Texas also allows a victim to recover if the owner was negligent.

For a free case evaluation by an experienced Houston Dog Bite Injury Attorney who could assist you with a potential personal injury case, please call our law firm at (713) 888-8888 or (281) 888-8888.

Ramji & Associates

2920 Virginia Street, Houston, TX

(713) 888-8888‎ ·