July 2012 Bonus Issue - Page 32

What Happens When Fido Attacks? Movie producer Stuart Parr and his girlfriend Allison Sarofim are being sued for an injury allegedly inflicted by their black Labrador dog, according to the Huffington Post’s article “Stuart Parr And Allison Sarofim Sued By Beth Fischer For Dog Bite In Aspen”. Beth Fischer claims the dog “leapt up from its position and lunged directly” just before biting her hand. We turned to the Insurance Information Institute for answers on what the financial responsibility is for owners of dogs who bite someone. From Insurance Information Institute: Most dogs are friendly, loving members of the family, but even normally docile dogs may bite when they are frightened or when protecting their puppies, owners or food. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 4.7 million people are bitten by dogs annually, resulting in an estimated 800,000 injuries that require medical attention. More than 50 percent of dog bites occur on the dog owner’s property, and they account for one-third of all homeowners insurance liability claims. Dog Owner Liability Dog owners are liable for any injuries their pets cause in the following instances: if the owner knew the dog had a tendency to cause that kind of injury; if a state statute makes the owner liable, whether or not the owner knew the dog had a tendency to cause that kind of injury; or if the injury was caused by unreasonable carelessness on the part of the owner.