Dog Bite Injuries
Each year more than 4.7 million Americans are bitten by a dog. The American Medical Association estimates that over 330,000 people require emergency medical treatment each year as the result of a dog bite. Over half of these victims are children under the age of twelve. These numbers do not include persons who are injured while evading an attacking or escaped dog. Each year, the homeowner's insurance industry pays more than $1 billion dollars in claims resulting from dog bites.
While most dogs truly are man's best friend, the numbers speak for themselves. There are vicious dogs in our neighborhoods. The best way to address dog bites is by prevention. Be sure that you and your children:
- Never approach strange or unattended dogs;
- Never disturb a dog that is sleeping, eating or nursing puppies;
- Never leave your child unattended in the presence of a dog—even yours;
- Always ask permission to pet a dog; and
- Remember that a wagging tail does not mean the dog is happy or friendly (for example, many dogs wag their tails when fighting).
When prevention fails, it is important to remember that most dogs do not bite—even when they are disturbed or pestered. When an owner knows or should know of his or her dog's propensity to bite, they will be held financially responsible for the harm caused by their dog. However, getting money for your injury is often easier said than done.
Owners of vicious dogs often attempt to lay the blame on the victim or the victim's parents, arguing that the dog was provoked or that the child was left unsupervised. Sometimes the courts are willing to entertain such arguments, leading to complex and involved legal proceedings.
If you or a loved one has suffered as the result of a dog bite, please call Kobylinski + Kobylinski if you have any questions or concerns. Remember, the time immediately following an injury is the most crucial time for your case as evidence regarding a dog's propensity to bite and its owner's knowledge can disappear.