Every year more than 4.7 million Americans suffer injury from dog bites or dog attacks, and nearly 800,000 require medical attention. Close to 50,000 dog attack victims require hospitalization for their care. A severe dog bite attack can leave a person with devastating, life-changing injuries. A person who has suffered severe dog bite injuries may face a hospital stay and possible multiple plastic surgeries to restore appearance and reduce scarring. Treatment can painful, and expensive.
Seventy percent of the victims of serious dog bite injuries who require hospitalization are children, and about 70 percent of those who die from dog bites are children.
About half of all children in the US will be bitten by a dog before they are 18. Among children, the group suffering the highest incidence is 5 to 9-year-old boys. Dog bite injuries are the third leading cause of emergency admission of children to hospitals.
Dog bites are increasing faster than dog ownership. Between 1986 and the present, dog ownership increased 2 per cent, and dog bites requiring medical treatment increased 36 per cent. The elderly have a higher rate of attacks, as do service workers such as mail carriers, other delivery persons, meter readers, home health aides, and others who make house calls, and are therefore more exposed to dogs.
**Are some dog breeds' bites more dangerous?
More than half of all documented serious attacks in the US involve Rottweilers or pit bulls.
**How can I reduce my risk of an attack?
Do not approach dogs you don't know well, nor those unaccompanied by an owner. Avoid packs of dogs. Do not provoke or tease any dog, whether you know it well or not.
**Are there psychological effects from these attacks?
The emotional trauma resulting from being attacked by a dog is a central element in many dog bite cases. People often suffer post-traumatic distress disorder, with symptoms of sleep disturbance, flashbacks of the attack, severe anxiety and irritability, impaired concentration, and a persistent fear of dogs.
**Who is responsible when a dog injures a person?
Under California law, dog owners are liable when their dog bites someone, period. The attack victim does not have to prove fault or negligence. This law does not apply to a person who is bitten while trespassing.
**Do homeowners and renters insurance cover these attacks?
The Insurance Information Institute, states that homeowners and renters insurance policies typically cover dog bite liability. Most policies provide $100,000 to $300,000 in liability coverage. If the claim exceeds the limit, the dog owner is responsible for all damages above that amount, including legal expenses. However, some carriers are now excluding certain breeds from coverage.
If you or a loved one has suffered serious injury from a dog attack, you may want to consult a personal injury lawyer who is experienced in dealing with attack cases. An attorney may be able to seek compensation for medical expenses and pain and suffering caused by the attack.
Prompt investigation as soon as possible after a dog bite or dog attack is extremely important. Many people who own a dangerous dog do not have the financial resources to pay for the damage that their dog has caused. An experience dog bite attorney will conduct a thorough investigation to determine all who share responsibility for the dog.
San Diego personal injury attorney Thomas Penfield understands the depth of medical and emotional damage that often occurs after a brutal attack. If you have suffered through a vicious dog attack in Southern California, an attorney may be able to help you receive compensation that will help you with both the immediate medical costs and ongoing rehabilitation costs that can follow after a dog bite attack.
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