Dog bites and attacks are on the rise. With 68% of Americans owning at least one pet, it is no wonder that more and more people are suffering injuries and fatalities from animal attacks, especially dog bites. There is one dog for every 4.5 people in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about 4.5 million Americans are victims of dog bites annually of which 885,000 need medical attention.
Unfortunately many pet owners are irresponsible and do not manage their pets properly, often leading to many of these dog attacks. Children and the elderly are especially vulnerable to attacks, as are United States Postal Workers. Certain pet breeds require more supervision than others, such as pit bull terriers and rottweilers. These breeds make up three fourths of all dog bite injuries.
Man’s best friend is usually good-natured, but under the wrong circumstances or the supervision of an irresponsible owner, a dog can become ferocious at a moment’s notice, leaving little time for the victim to escape or fend off the attacker, especially if that victim is a child.
Dog Bite Injuries & Medical Treatment
Injuries from a vicious dog attack can be quite severe, requiring multiple reconstructive surgeries, painful skin grafts and other medical treatments lasting for years.
Other injuries could be less severe but still result in hospitalization due to skin infections, bacterial infections, open wounds, infective arthritis or a crushing injury or internal injury. The most severe injuries could result in death.
When a child is attacked by a dog it is most often their head and neck that are bitten. The treatment that may be necessary for reconstruction could go on for years and require multiple surgeries, procedures and skin grafting.
And those are just the physical injuries. People and children who suffer from dog bites often are emotionally traumatized and can exhibit Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PSTD) symptoms and depression which can last for years and may require extensive psychiatric treatment.
What To Do If You Have Suffered A Dog Bite Attack
- If a dog has attacked you or your child, seek immediate medical attention.
- Try to identify the dog and its owner. If you are bitten by a stray dog or unidentified dog, you may have to get painful rabies shots. Get the owner of the dog’s telephone number and/or address if at all possible.
- After you have identified the dog and its owner and you have received medical care, you will want to file a police report and start gathering evidence. Depending on where you live, you may file a report with your local police department or you may file one with an animal control board.
- You will also want to take photographs of your injuries and keep all medical documentation. Get the phone numbers and names of anyone who may have witnessed the attack. Also, ask your neighbors or anyone in the area where the attack happened if they know of anyone else who has been bitten by the same dog. This will build evidence for your case.
- Contact an attorney right away. Our personal injury attorneys do not charge any fees unless we win your case. We can provide you with information and answers to your initial questions in a free case evaluation.
The longer you wait to call an attorney, the more difficult your case may be to win. In some circumstances, you may only have so many days to legally file a claim.
Recovering Damages for Dog Attacks/Bites
It is estimated that dog attack victims in the U.S. lose over one billion dollars incurred by their injuries annually.
According to a study from the Insurance Information Institute and State Farm®, dog bites make up over a third of all homeowners insurance liability claims. In 2013, Pennsylvania ranked number five for the highest number of homeowners insurance liability claims (909) for dog bites with an average cost of $29,078 per claim.
If a pet owner owns their home, their insurance policy may cover some medical expenses in the event that their dog causes an injury, but most insurance policies do not cover dangerous dog breeds such as pit bulls or rottweilers. And many pet owners do not own their own homes.
Also, in many circumstances the insurance company may only pay out limited amounts that do not cover the entire medical bill, future medical bills that may occur, lost wages or pain and suffering.
Do not accept any type of settlement from an insurance company without first speaking to an attorney.
In 2013, 32 people died from dog attacks, including 18 children in the U.S. in 2014, 42 people have died from dog attacks in the U.S., including 22 children.
If you or your child has suffered injuries due to a dog bite or other animal attack, the injuries can be quite severe with lasting damages, including permanent scarring. You should contact a personal injury lawyer regarding winning compensation for your injuries.
You have a right to seek damages for medical bills and pain and suffering, lost time at work and other damages. If your loved one has been killed by an animal attack, you have a right to seek compensation and damages for their wrongful death.
The personal injury attorneys at SMT Legal understand how frustrating and painful it is to suffer serious injuries from an animal attack. We believe that negligent pet owners should be held responsible for the actions of their pets.
We are here to answer your questions and help you determine what to do if you have been seriously injured by an animal. You may have a right to file a premises liability claim against the pet owner. We offer free case evaluations and we do not collect any out of pocket fees. We only get paid if you get paid. Contact us today for a free case evaluation.