“It takes communication, compassion and negotiation to get results, not a bulldog in the courtroom. Nice guys don’t always finish last.”

– Scott Blumen

The actual cost of dog bite injuries

On Behalf of | May 8, 2023 | Dog Bites

Dogs are some of the friendliest animals, but even they can cause injuries. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have estimated that 4.5 million dog bites occur annually in the U.S., with one in every five bites leading to infection.

With so many dog bite cases nationwide, it begs the question: How much are these injuries costing Americans each year?

What insurers have to say

Insurance statistics may shed light on the actual cost of dog bite injuries. According to a new report from the Insurance Information Institute (Triple-I) and State Farm, 17,597 dog-related injury claims were made in 2022. The study found that this represents a 2.2% year-over-year decline from 2021’s 17,989 dog bite claims.

But despite the decrease in the number of claims, the study also uncovered that the total cost of dog bite claims sharply spiked from $882 million in 2021 to $1.13 billion in 2022.

What makes dog bites so expensive to treat?

Dog bites can range from “playful munch” to “skin-tearing chomp,” with the severity of the injuries dependent on how much force the dog used. But the complications that come with dog bites make them expensive to treat. These complications include:

  • Rabies: A viral disease transferred from the saliva of unvaccinated dogs into wounds. As the virus enters the victim’s central nervous system, the victim will experience fever, pain and a tingling sensation from the bite wound. It could eventually lead to paralysis or even death. To treat rabies, the victim must clean the wound and take a course of potent rabies vaccines, which can cost between $1,200 and $6,500.
  • Tetanus: A bacterial infection that also affects the victim’s nervous system. Also known as “lockjaw,” the condition manifests as muscle stiffness and can spread to the rest of the body. Left untreated can lead to breathing problems, pneumonia, or even brain damage. It’s treated through antibiotics, muscle relaxers, and the tetanus vaccine, which can be costly when all purchased together.
  • Broken bones: Some dog bites are so severe because of the animal’s immense bite force that they can result in broken bones. This is prevalent for dog bites in extremities such as the hands, feet, and legs. Treating broken bones can cost patients up to $10,000, depending on the injury’s severity.

Dog bites are expensive to treat. If you receive one from any dog – whether it’s your neighbor’s dog or a stranger’s pet – you should consider filing a lawsuit with an attorney’s help to pay for your costly medical bills.