Every year the United States sees around four and a half million dog bites. 20% of those dog bites will result in infected wounds. The infections can include Rabies, MRSA, Tetanus, and various other bacterial infections that can result from the bacteria in the dog’s saliva. Of course, infection is not the only harm done in these dog bite cases. There are also injuries that require surgery and/or involve permanent scarring and disfiguration.
For many, there will be a traumatic psychological impact, and significant pain and suffering from their wounds. The CDC reports that the number of serious injuries form dog bites in the US is roughly two times greater than the number if auto accident injuries. Over 40% of the most serious cases involve children. Clearly, this is an issue that we need to take seriously.
Why Are There So Many Dog Bite Injuries in the US?
One reason that there are so many dog bite injuries every year in the US is because there are so many dogs in US households. In fact, there are between seventy and eighty million dogs being kept as pets. Of course, many of these dogs are friendly and loving family members, so the high number of dogs kept as pets is not enough to explain why so many dog bite injuries occur.
The CDC reports that out of more than four and half million dog bite injuries in a single year, about 800 thousand seek medical treatment for their injury. More than 365 thousand do so by going directly to the emergency room. Nearly 60% of these injuries were caused by dogs that were on the owner’s property, but not restrained, which also contributes to nearly a quarter of all dog bite injury deaths. 17% of injuries are caused by dogs that are restrained.
The two breeds of dogs that cause nearly three quarters of all dog bite injuries are rottweilers and pit bulls. These breeds caused more than 200 deaths to adults and children, frequently who did not live with the dog, but were visiting or were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.
These statistics are worth noting for those who are considering getting a new dog or who might be visiting someone with these breeds. Yet, it is unwise to assume that all rottweilers and pit bulls are dangerous. Many of these pets are well behaved, well trained, and well treated. Most dog bites occur through misunderstandings or mistreatment.
The reason that dog bites from rottweilers and pit bulls are so frequently fatal is largely because these dogs are large and powerful. They may not be more temperamental than a chihuahua, for example, but when they do bite and attack, the injuries are more severe.
How Can You Recover Compensation After a Dog Bite Injury?
With all of the information provided thus far, you might not find it hard to believe that one third of all personal injury claims with homeowner’s insurance policies are related to dog bites and attacks. This is also likely to be your best resource for recovering compensation if you have been injured by someone else’s dog. It helps here to know what to do in the immediate aftermath of a dog bite or attack to protect your right to compensation and ensure that you don’t suffer from unnecessary harm.
You will want to get the contact and insurance information of the owner of the dog and the contact information of anyone who witnessed the incident. In some cases, it may be necessary to write down a description of the dog and the location where the incident occurred if you do not know who the dog belongs to. It is then essential to seek medical treatment, though you should take photos of the injury prior to treatment and afterward, as it heals.
Failing to seek treatment for a dog bite that breaks the skin could result in serious infection. Failing to respond to serious injuries could cause more damage than necessary. You may end up with worse scarring and disfigurement by not attending to a serious injury right away. This is harmful to your own health and future and can also harm your claim.
When you seek compensation, you will do so through a premises liability claim, the homeowner’s insurance of the dog owner, and ideally with the help of an attorney.
Arizona is a Strict Liability State for Dog Owners
Some states allow for a one bite rule, which means that the owner may not be held liable for the first bite because they had no reason to suspect that the dog was dangerous. Arizona is not one of these states. Rather, Arizona has a strict liability rule when it comes to dog bite injuries. This means that the dog owner is responsible for any injuries caused by their dog, regardless of whether the dog has bitten anyone or behaved aggressively in the past, and regardless of whether or not the incident occurred on the dog owner’s property.
If the dog owner did have reason to believe that the dog was dangerous, then there may be further consequences for failing to restrain the dog, choosing to keep the dog, and allowing the dog to pose a risk to others. In the worst cases, a dog owner can even be charged with a felony. In cases where the victim was bitten or attacked because he or she was intentionally provoking or abusing the pet, the dog owner may have a valid defense.
Contact Nathaniel B. Preston PLLC to Learn More About Recovering Compensation
When you’ve been bitten or attacked by a dog in Arizona, you may be dealing with serious injuries, tremendous medical expenses, time off work, and other damages. All of these can be recovered with the help of a determined Arizona personal injury attorney. Contact Nathaniel B. Preston PLLC to schedule a free consultation to learn more about your options.