According to the CDC, every year there are roughly 4.7 million people who are bitten by dogs. Approximately 800,000 of those dog bites lead to a person seeking medical attention. Most shocking, about 16 people who are bitten by dogs also end up dying each year.
According to recent data, it appears that dog bites are on the rise. State Farm Insurance paid out a total of $109 million for around 3,800 dog bite claims in 2011. In 2010 the total payout was $90 million for about 3,500 claims. Additionally, the Insurance Information Institute reports higher payouts with an estimation that insurance companies paid out a total of $479 million in 2011 alone. That represents a pretty substantial rise from 2010, when $413 million was paid out due to dog bite claims.
Children between the ages of 5 and 9 are most at risk of dog bites. The second most vulnerable group is the elderly. The third group with the best chance of being attacked by a dog is, perhaps unsurprisingly, mail carriers. Though mail carriers may seem very likely to be bitten by a dog, the fact is that children are some 900 times more likely to be bitten than a mail carrier.
When it comes to promoting dog safety for children, the ASPCA says that children should make sure to never do the following things:
• Stare into a dog’s eyes;
• Go up to a chained dog;
• Tease a dog;
• Touch a dog that is sleeping;
• Try to play with a dog that is eating;
• Run or scream if a stray dog comes up.
Instead, the ASPCA says that the best thing for a child to do is to stay very still and quiet if a dog approaches them. Children should also ask an owner before reaching out to pet a dog and let the dog smell their closed hand first.
Unfortunately, these types of animal attacks happen too often, despite the efforts of responsible pet owners. If you or a loved one has suffered a serious injury as a result of a dog bite or attack, it is very important to consult an experienced personal injury lawyer that will work hard to assist you in recovering just compensation. Having someone fighting for you can help make the emotional and physical recovery process less painful.