Let’s take a look at dog bites by the numbers and learn more about dog bites across the nation and here in California.
Unfortunately, man and woman’s best friend bites more than 4.5 million people a year. Dog bite injuries can be severe, causing emotional suffering, physical pain, permanent scarring, and even death. Typically, dog attack victims suffer puncture wounds to the head, neck, legs and arms; leading to repeated cosmetic surgery procedures, serious nerve damage and loss of limb function.
In the US, dog bites are extremely common, injuring hundreds of thousands of people each year. According to Centers for Disease Control (CDC) statistics, and about one in five (a total of 885,000) receive medical attention for their injuries. Of those injured, 386,000 require treatment in an emergency center and approximately 16 individuals eventually die each year.
Children and Dog Bites
One of the biggest concerns about dog bites by the numbers are the risks for children. Of the more than 800,000 Americans who seek medical attention for dog bites, half are children. The rate of serious dog bite-related injuries is highest for children ages 5 to 9 years, and the rate decreases as children age. Almost two thirds of injuries among children ages four years and younger are to the head or neck region. Injury rates in children are higher for boys than for girls. These attacks often occur during the summer months when children are out of school.
Breeds that Bite
Although fatal attacks on humans appear to be a breed-specific problem (pit bulls and Rottweilers account for nearly half of the deaths related to dog bits), other breeds may bite and cause fatalities as well. Even the most well-mannered dogs can attack without provocation so beware of all dogs.
Dog Bites in California
What about dog bites by the numbers in California? California is ranked high in fatal dog attacks, often the highest in the nation. Here in Orange County we average almost 2,000 dog bites every year. California Civil Code Section 3342 & 3342.5 calls out the Liability of Dog Owner for Damages Suffered From Dog Bite. The owner of any dog is liable for the damages suffered by any person who is bitten by the dog while in a public place or lawfully in a private place, including the property of the owner of the dog, regardless of the former viciousness of the dog or the owner’s knowledge of such viciousness.
US Postal Workers and Dog Bites
The Postal Service continues its tradition of calling attention to one of the nation’s most commonly reported public health problems: dog bites. US Postal workers encounter nearly 3,000 dog bites annually as they deliver the mail.
What to do following an animal attack
If you or a loved one has been attacked by a dog or animal, seek medical attention immediately. Infection is one of the highest risks associated with a dog bite injury so it is important to act quickly. In addition, it’s very important to secure evidence as quickly as possible and preserve that evidence. Obtain the identity of the dog and its owner, find witnesses and gather witnesses statements. Take pictures or video of the injuries, the location, witnesses and if possible, the dog and the owner. Get medical attention and contact our experienced attorneys or call 949-305-1400 for a free consultation.
My name is Rivers Morrell and after more than 40 years of experience in dog bite injury cases, I can tell you the insurance company will try to get you to accept a much lower offer than what you are entitled to by law. This is why it is important to have an attorney if you or someone you love has suffered a dog bite injury.