Dog bites can cause severe injuries which may require costly medical treatments. Dog bite victims may be able to recover costs associated with dog bites from the dog owners. The laws surrounding dog bite liability vary greatly from state to state.
Dog Bite Injuries
Approximately 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs each year in the United States, according to the CDC. Half of these victims are children, who may sustain more severe injuries than adults because of size. About 885,000 dog bite victims per year must seek medical treatment for injuries. Dog bite injuries that go untreated may result in infections and scarring.
Common injuries which may be sustained from dog bites include:
- Facial disfigurement
- Broken bones
- Hemorrhaging and blood loss
Treating Bite Injuries
Immediately after a dog bite incident, it is important to secure the dog so that the dog does not cause further damage to the victim or others. Once the dog has been secured, the focus should be on stopping the bleeding and sterilizing the wound to prevent infection. Depending on the severity of the bite, it may be necessary to seek medical attention. If the dog is unknown or if the dog has not received rabies shots and other vaccinations, dog bite victims should seek medical attention to take preventative measures.
In many cases, the victim of a dog bite will be given antibiotics to prevent infection. If lacerations from a dog bite are severe, the victim may also require stitches or even reconstructive surgery. If there is nerve damage, specialists may be required to repair damaged nerves and restore function. In some cases, physical therapy may be required following these procedures.
After sustaining a dog bite injury, victims may suffer emotional or psychological damage. This emotional distress may be treated with psychological therapy. If psychological therapy is necessary in order for a victim to return to the emotional state that was enjoyed prior to the dog bite incident, the dog owner may be liable for covering therapy costs.
Dog Bite Liability
In most cases, costs stemming from dog bite injuries are covered by the dog owner’s homeowner’s insurance. If the dog owner does not have homeowner’s insurance, the dog owner may be held personally responsible for covering costs. The definition of dog bite injuries may vary from state to state, with some states classifying any injury stemming from aggressive action on the part of the dog as a dog bite injury. The costs that the owner is responsible for covering may also vary by state and may differ based on the details of the situation.
Most states mandate that dog owners keep dogs on leashes unless they are within a residence or fenced yard. If a dog bites someone while not on a leash, the dog owner may be subject to additional penalties. In some states, animal control is instructed to capture and euthanize dogs that are found roaming free of a leash in certain areas or at certain times.
In most cases, the dog owner will be excused from liability if it is determined that the victim provoked the dog. Behaviors that would be considered provocation include teasing, hitting, or playing aggressively with the dog. Certain states deem children less than seven years of age incapable of provoking a dog, although a burden of evidence may alter this verdict. Dog owners may also be excused from liability if the injured person was trespassing on the owner’s property, knew the risks associated with handling the dog, or acted carelessly or outside of the law.
Orlando Dog Bite Lawyers
Dog bite injury cases may be complicated. There are a multitude of factors to consider including the temperament of the dog, the state laws, and the actions of the victim. An attorney with experience in handling dog bite injury cases will be best equipped to help victims recover compensation for costs associated with dog bite injuries.
“Dog Bites.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 25 Oct. 2013. Web. 6 June 2014. <http://www.cdc.gov/homeandrecreationalsafety/dog-bites/index.html>
Presutti, John. “Prevention and Treatment of Dog Bites.” – American Family Physician. American Academy of Family Physicians, 15 Apr. 2001. Web. 6 June 2014. <http://www.aafp.org/afp/2001/0415/p1567.html>
Rebecca, Wisch. “Table of State Dog Leash Laws .” Animal Legal & Historical Center, 1 Jan. 2012. Web. 6 June 2014. <http://www.animallaw.info/articles/State%20Tables/tbusdogleash.htm>