Millions paid out in NJ last year for dog bites and related injuries
Man's best friend is not always so kind in New Jersey.
Dog-related injuries, including bites, cost insurance companies millions of dollars in New Jersey in 2016.
According to a new report from State Farm, the company paid out $5.1 million in New Jersey last year due to dog-related injuries. The average amount paid per claim was $74,190 — highest in the nation.
State Farm recorded 70 such claims in the Garden State, compared to 156 in New York.
Fifteen states had a higher number of claims than New Jersey. In California, 433 claims resulted in payouts totaling $16.8 million.
"All dogs can bite; it's not a particular type of breed," said Arlene Lester, a State Farm public affairs specialist.
Lester noted postal workers nationwide reported 6,755 dog-related injuries in 2016.
A spokesman for Allstate said the company does not track injuries related specifically to dogs, but the category of "injury by animal" — which is likely comprised mostly of incidents with dogs — averages about 50 claims per year in New Jersey.
Allstate paid out $1.4 million for these claims in 2016, and some could still be pending.
New Jersey 101.5 requested similar statistics from New Jersey Manufacturers but did not receive a response.
Among the notable dog attacks in New Jersey last year:
- NUTLEY — A recently-rescued pit bull escaped its owner's home in April and mauled an 11-month-old girl in her stroller. The infant received 70 stitches and plastic surgery.
- NUTLEY — In May, a "Lab mix" attacked a 6-year-old boy who needed treatment for lacerations to his face and neck, the Belleville Patch reported.
- TOMS RIVER — A 4-year-old boy needed 35 stitches in November after he and his brother were attacked by a pit bull let out of its owner's home. The dog was euthanized.
- EAST ORANGE — Emergency surgery saved a 3-year-old girl who was attacked by a pit bull in her grandmother's home in May.
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Contact reporter Dino Flammia at firstname.lastname@example.org.