Children, senior citizens, and letter carriers are more likely to be bitten or attacked by dogs than any other group. It is predicted that half of all children in the United States will be bitten by a dog before the age of 12. The majority of bites will be from the family dog or the dog of a neighbor or friend. If the bites are serious enough, a claim can be filed against the dog owner. Usually, the owner's homeowner insurance policy will cover the loss.
The Insurance Information Institute estimates that nearly $479 million was paid on dog bite and dog attack claims in 2011. State Farm Insurance Company, one of the nation's largest home insurers, paid more than $109 million on about 3,800 dog bite claims nationwide last year. In 2010, they paid on 3,500 claims and registered $90 million in payouts.
California, the state with the most dogs and people in the country, led the way with the number of claims. Illinois, Texas, and Ohio were next with the most claims. State Farm reports that it paid on average about $25,000 per claim in Ohio in 2011.
There are ways for children to avoid dog bites. Children should never stare into a dog's eyes, tease a dog, approach a chained dog, or approach a dog that is not on a leash. Parents need to be extremely careful not to allow a young child to be with a dog without adult supervision.