What is the one-bite rule honored by some insurance companies?

The one-bite rule essentially means that dog owners are not liable for injuries caused by their dogs unless they know that their dog is vicious. You should know, however, that many states have eliminated this so it may not be in your coverage.

The law is complex when it comes to dog bites and injuries and it varies from state to state. You must thoroughly understand your homeowner policy so you know what is covered. Be mindful also that some breeds are excluded. If your dog bites someone, you may also want to speak to an attorney specializing in companion animal law.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, dogs bite 4.7 million people a year in the United States. Half of the people treated for dog bites are children, and 386,000 of the 800,000 people who seek medical attention will need emergency medical services. Only 16 of the 4.7 million bites per year cause fatal injury, but 50 percent of reported bites involve a dog from the victim’s household or owned by neighbors.

Generally, the laws are developed to protect victims of unprovoked dog attacks. Dog owners are usually liable for all bites and injuries caused by their dogs as long as the victim is not guilty of trespassing or provoking the dog. Dog owners are also liable in most states for injuries caused by owner negligence.

Depending on the laws where you live, the victim may be entitled to compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and miscellaneous expenses.
One of the best ways that you, as the owner, can protect both you and your pet is to:
• Socialize your dog by and exposing her to a variety of people and situations.
• Conduct some obedience training sessions: It goes a long way towards curbing aggression and can prevent situations in which your dog may feel nervous or threatened which is a big reason for dog bites.
• Properly restraining your dog when in public.

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