Dog bites may not seem like a serious problem, but they account for a large number of emergency room visits. According to the Centers for Disease Control, there are more than 5 million dog bites in the United States every year, many of which children are victims. While some breeds bite more commonly than others, all dogs are capable of biting if they are frightened, cornered, hurt, or simply left unsupervised.
It is an owner’s responsibility to ensure that his or her pet is always under control. Therefore, a bite is never the victim’s “fault.” It is important to know if you are bitten by a dog, what to do in order to protect your rights.
Why Do Dog Bites Happen?
There are many reasons why a dog, even one that is normally tame and docile, might bite. Instinctively, dogs bite to protect themselves or their owners. Unfortunately, dogs do not always understand all the cues that humans use to communicate. Therefore, a dog may view a person as a threat even when that person is not threatening, simply because dogs react based on instinct.
This does not mean that the dog is “bad”; however, it does mean that dogs can inflict injury on innocent victims. Dog bites, even from small dogs, can cause serious physical trauma that results in permanent disfigurement, disability, or even death.
What Can I Do To Prevent Dog Bites?
The most important thing that you can do to avoid dog bites is to avoid contact with strange dogs and monitor your children closely. Children are often bitten when they rush up to pet a dog. Even if the child knows the dog and has seen it before, it is never a good idea to allow a child unsupervised contact with an animal. Always keep a close watch on your children when dogs are present, and remove them if the dog seems in any way nervous, aggressive or fearful. Never allow children to pull on a dog or put their face close to a dog’s face, as these actions can be taken by the dog as signs of aggression.
If, despite your best efforts, you or a loved one is bitten by a dog, seek immediate medical treatment. Even if the bite does not seem serious, infections can result from dog bites that cause medical problems. If you do not know the dog or its owner, be sure to gather information such as the owner’s name, address, and telephone number. If the owner refuses to give them to you, take pictures of the dog and owner if possible, or contact the police for help.
Once you have the necessary information and have sought medical treatment, your next call should be to an attorney who handles dog bite cases. Barber & Associates have been helping Alaska dog bite victims recover compensation from owners for many years. We know how to preserve evidence properly and communicate with dog owners and insurance companies to ensure that your damages and costs are covered. Contact us today for more information.