St. Louis Injury Lawyer Zane Cagle Says New Study Shows Availability of Insurance to Pay Many Dog Bite Claims

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Compensation for dog bites and other animal attacks is usually paid by homeowners’ insurance policies, not the friends, relatives and neighbors who own the animals, says the founder of The Cagle Law Firm.

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Zane T. Cagle

People who have been bitten or injured by dogs should not have to bear the expense of the attack. This report shows that insurance claims are a major source of compensation for these animal attack victims’ costly medical expenses and other damages.

Dog bite victims who might be hesitant about bringing a claim against a neighbor, relative or friend should know most of these claims are paid through insurance coverage, St. Louis injury lawyer Zane Cagle said today, citing a new report that indicates roughly a third of all homeowner’s insurance claims involve animal attacks.

“When someone is bitten or attacked by an animal, often the owner of that animal is someone the victim knows – a friend, neighbor or family member – which can make the subject of compensation awkward for some,” said Cagle, the founder of The Cagle Law Firm, which focuses on personal injury cases in Missouri, southern Illinois and Kentucky. “But a seemingly uncomfortable situation should not prevent victims from seeking compensation for their injuries.”

Cagle pointed to a recent study released by the Insurance Information Institute and State Farm, which reported that as many as one-third of homeowner’s insurance claims each year involve dog bites. In 2012, insurers paid out more than $489 million in claims for dog bites, according to the May 15 report, which is titled "Dog Bite Liability."

“This report underscores the fact that homeowner’s insurance coverage is often available in dog bite cases, and that it’s the insurance company – not the friend, relative or neighbor – who will ultimately pay the medical expenses, lost wages and compensation for pain and suffering for people who are severely injured in a dog attack,” Cagle said. “Dog bites can result in very serious injuries. Dog bite victims deserve to have expenses related to the bite covered.”

According to a May 28 article in Time magazine about the report, “Over the last decade, the number of insurance claims related to dog bites has basically remained flat. But the amount of money paid out in claims has soared.” The Time article is titled "Dog Bites Insurance Companies: Man’s Best Friend Behind One-Third of All Homeowner Claims."

The Insurance Information Institute’s analysis of homeowners’ insurance data reported that in 2012, the average cost paid out for dog bite claims was $29,752, compared with $29,396 in 2011. The total number of claims went down by 1.4 percent between 2011 and 2012, according to the report.

“While many dogs are safe to be around and do not pose a threat to children or adults, there are dogs who may be inclined to bite or injure,” Cagle said. “People who have been bitten or injured by dogs should not have to bear the expense of the attack. This report shows that insurance claims are a major source of compensation for these animal attack victims’ costly medical expenses and other damages.”

Dog owners have a responsibility to ensure that their animals are safe to be around other people and children and are properly restrained, Cagle said.

Dog bites can result in expensive medical bills, lost wages and emotional trauma. Victims of dog bites should consult an attorney who will review their case, examine whether they are eligible to make a claim under Missouri or Illinois law and seek out available sources for compensation, such as the dog owner’s homeowner’s insurance coverage,” Cagle said. “The Cagle Law Firm has a wealth of experience in these unique kinds of cases.”

About The Cagle Law Firm

The Cagle Law Firm, with offices in St. Louis, represents dog bite victims in Missouri, southern Illinois and Kentucky. Our experienced lawyers also focus on other types of injury claims, including car accidents, slip-and-fall accidents, defective products, birth injuries, chemical inhalation, dangerous drugs, workplace injuries and wrongful death. The Cagle Law Firm’s office is located at 211 North Broadway, Suite 2420, St. Louis, MO 63102-2793. Our local phone number is (314) 276-1681. To find out how we can help you, call us toll free at (800) 635-3302 or fill out our online contact form.

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