Man's best friend is a hugely popular choice for a family pet, with over 78 million dogs living within this country's households. Yet even though life with Fido can bring years of enjoyment and a more fulfilling existence to dog lovers, Fort Myers personal injury attorney Mike Noone notes that there are times when a dog bite injury can expose the dog's owner to some potentially severe liability issues.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are more than 4.7 million cases of dog bites in the United States each year, with more than 800,000 of those resulting in the injured person seeking medical attention. The highest rate of dog bite injuries happen to children 5 to 9 years of age, and almost two thirds of those bites are to the head and neck region.
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Dog Bite Data By The Numbers
- There are approximately 16 deaths annually caused by dog bites
- Postal workers are attacked by dogs about 5,600 times annually in the US
- The ASPCA predicts that 50% of all children in the US will be bitten by a dog before the age of 12
- The Insurance Information Institute claims that an estimated $479 million was paid by all insurance companies for dog bite claims in the US in 2011
- Pit bulls accounted for 61% of fatal dog attacks in 2012, yet that breed makes up less than 5% of the total US dog population
- From 2005 to 2012, pit bulls and rottweiler's accounted for 73% of the 251 reported dog bite deaths in the US
- 58% of dog bite fatalities in 2012 were caused by the family pet
- 82% of those occurred on the dog owner's property
- 18% resulted in criminal charges being filed
- 34% of all US fatalities in 2012 involved more than 1 dog
If your dog bites someone on your property, that person may be entitled to substantial financial compensation, based on several factors used to determine who was at fault. “But the best way to avoid this tragic situation in the first place is to do everything you can to prevent your dog from attacking someone”, says attorney Noone. Here are a few tips on reducing the risk of dog bite injuries:
- Never approach an unfamiliar dog
- Never pet a dog without letting him smell and see you first
- Don't disturb a dog who is sleeping, chewing on a toy, nursing puppies or eating
- Do not scream or run away from a dog you think may be preparing to attack
- Stand still with your hands at your side, avoiding eye contact with the dog
- If you are attacked, use an article of clothing, purse, or anything you can to put an object between you and the dog
- If you suffer a severe injury as the result of a dog bite, immediately wash the wound thoroughly with warm water and soap, and seek medical attention.
Dog bite injuries can be a traumatic and life-changing occurrence that can be prevented with some common sense and preventative measures. If you've been the victim of a dog bite injury, give us a call at 239-461-5508 to discuss the details of your case. You can meet with one of our Fort Myers dog bite injury attorneys at no cost to learn if you may have against the dog's owner.