We have all heard that old adage about dogs being man’s best friend. And for most of us, we can probably walk through our own neighborhood on any given day and see a steady stream of people walking their dogs. Even if there are no dogs in your neighborhood, you probably see them every day on the streets or in the parks. You may even have a dog of your own.
Dogs are popular for a reason—they are cute and cuddly and altogether great companions. And while most dogs are friendly, bites do happen. Such bites can come from both smaller, more docile breeds and the bigger, more famously aggressive breeds alike. They can be shockingly severe, sometimes even serious enough to lead to death.
According to the Center for Disease Control, over four million dog bites happen in the United States every year. Of those four million dog bites, 800,000 require medical treatment. This may include anything from a simple doctor’s visit to an immediate trip to the emergency room. Additionally, NBC reported that dog bites resulted in a total of $479 million worth of insurance payouts in 2011.
Dog bite accidents can happen more quickly than you might expect. They may result in damaging, sometimes even fatal wounds. This is especially true if a small child is bitten by a large dog. In this blog post, we will go over a brief overview of dog bite accidents and liability as it relates to personal injury.
According to the CDC, nearly one in five people who have been bitten by a dog require medical attention afterward. This is especially alarming when taking into consideration that over 36% of households own at least one dog. It should come as no surprise, then, that over half of dog bite injuries occur in the home.
Some groups are more at risk of dog bite accidents than others. As we mentioned earlier, children are one of those groups. In addition, adult men are more likely than adult women to be bitten by a dog. The likelihood of being bitten by a dog also increases as the number of dogs in the household increases.
If you are bitten by a dog, you should take immediate action to protect yourself. A quick and easy way to do this is to put some sort of obstacle between you and the dog. This could be a purse, bag, or jacket. If you are knocked down by the dog and have nothing at your disposal, you will want to curl into the fetal position with your head tucked in and your hands protecting your ears and neck.
Once it is safe to do so, you will want to wash your wounds with soap and water as soon as you can. If you have only suffered minor wounds, you may be able to just apply an antibiotic cream and cover your wound with a clean bandage. However, you will want to see a healthcare provider once the wound becomes red, painful, warm, or swollen or if you develop a fever. You should also seek out medical attention if you find that the dog that bit you is beginning to act strangely.
If you have suffered a deep wound, your immediate concern should be to stop your bleeding with a clean, dry cloth. If this is not sufficient and/or you begin to feel faint or weak, you should call your local emergency medical services as soon as possible.
Regardless of the severity of the bite you have suffered, you will want to seek out medical attention if: (1) you have a serious wound (resulting in things like loss of function, extreme pain, et cetera); (2) you do not know if the dog has been vaccinated against rabies; and/or (3) you have gone more than five years since your last tetanus shot and your bite is deep.
Dog bite personal injury claims should be taken very seriously. Every lawsuit demands a wealth of emotional energy and time, but dog bite personal injury claims have the added pressure of knowing that a dog’s life may be at stake as a result. In other words, if you win your case, it is likely that the dog in question will be put down.
In any case, you may be entitled to seek out legal help and collect compensation if you have been a victim of a serious dog bite accident. This is true whether or not the dog’s owner had any reason to believe the dog was dangerous. The laws on dog bite accidents vary state by state, and the specifics of your case are best left discussed with an experienced dog bite attorney.
In many states, there is what is known as a “one bite” law. The “one bite” law allows certain dogs one “free” bite before any legal action can be taken against them. Dogs are not allowed “free” bites if their owner knew that they were a high-risk breed or that they were potentially dangerous as a result of their upbringing or general demeanor. However, dogs and their owners are protected if nothing existed to suggest a proclivity towards aggression.
It can be very difficult to win a dog bite accident claim in a “one bite” state because it is so difficult to prove what the owner actually knew about their dog. The burden of proof lies on the victim. In other words, the victim has to show enough evidence to prove that the owner should be held liable.
Other states, however, have strict liability laws. In these states, there are no “free” bites allowed to any dogs, regardless of the circumstances. Rather, dogs and their owners may be subject to legal action the very first time the dog bites someone. It is much easier for a victim to win a case in a strict liability state. However, other liability laws may apply depending on the state.
If you or a loved one have recently been a victim of a dog bite accident, there is no reason for you to suffer alone. We at Injury Victim Law can help. Though we are a Colorado-based firm, our team of experts and investigators is here to help victims all across the United States. Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation with one of our experienced nationwide dog bite accident attorneys. We are dedicated to protecting you and your rights.