If you or a loved one is injured from a dog bite, you may be able to recover compensatory damages for your losses. Like car accidents and slip and fall cases, the purpose of a damage award is to compensate the injured party with money, with the intention of making him “whole.” But, how prevalent are dog bite accidents? Are they as common as car accidents, for instance? The statistics might surprise you.
Dog bite statistics may be frightening
According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than 4.7 million dog-bite incidents occur in the United States each year. Of those 4.7 million, approximately 800,000 victims seek medical attention. Half of those victims are children. Other reports indicate that every day, approximately 1,000 U.S. Citizens seek emergency medical treatment for dog bite accidents. A study published by the Agency for Healthcare Research and quality in 2010 indicated that the number of individuals hospitalized in the U.S., for dog bite injuries, has doubled over the last 15 years. Unfortunately, the average medical costs of dog bite-related hospital admissions was $18,200. The rate of emergency room visits related to dog bite injuries is substantially higher in rural areas.
What you can do to avoid being a victim
These statistics are certainly not comforting. But they can be less alarming if you have sufficient information to potentially avoid becoming a victim. One thing you must do is we aware of your own behavior around animals. More importantly, if you know why dogs actually bite in the first place, you will be more likely to avoid a dangerous situation.
Why dogs may be prone to biting
Typically, dogs bite due to stress or being scared or threatened. Dogs are also very protective, not only of their puppies, but also of their owners. If they are startled or not feeling well, they may lash out. They also bite accidently during play, especially rough play. If you keep these common triggers in mind when you are around dogs that do not belong to you, it will be easier to recognize a potential situation and avoid the possible danger.
What makes a dog dangerous?
There are certain breeds of dogs who are historically known to be aggressive or very protective. Historically, these traits we encouraged because of the breeds’ usefulness as hunters or herders. A significant source of undesirable traits primarily comes from irresponsible breeding, or “bad breeding” practices that potentially passes on a genetic tendency towards aggression. In other words, there are some breeders who seek to create “tough” dogs. Unfortunately, there are those breeders who seek to breed dogs for fighting or guarding. Another source of aggression and undesirable traits is neglect by dog owners.
Protecting yourself against the risk of liability
As far as protecting yourself from liability, some people consider purchasing dog liability insurance, especially if they own one a dog recognized as a “dangerous breed.” These special policies can give you peace of mind, just in case a situation ever arises. It is better to be proactive, rather than reactive. Some landlords may even require such insurance.
If you have questions regarding dog bites, or any other personal injury concerns, call the Cottrell Law Office at (888) 433-4861.
He is licensed to practice law in the United States District Court for the District of Kansas, eastern Arkansas, western Arkansas, and western Missouri. He was Deputy Prosecuting Attorney in Crawford County, Kansas from 1987-1989.
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