Injured By a Dog Bite?
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Dog bite injuries can be particularly serious, especially when young children are involved. As personal injury lawyers, we have extensive experience dealing with the legal issues regarding dog bite injuries. While all states have different laws regarding dog bite liability, If you were a loved one have been injured by a dog bite, there is a good chance that you have the right to compensation. Because of the complexity involved in the law of dog bites, we always advise that you schedule a free, no-risk consultation to discuss your case in more detail.
Dog Bite Injuries
In the United States, dog bite liability laws exist in one of two main categories-strict liability or notice statutes. A strict liability statue, like the one in Ohio, states that a owner keeper or harbor of a dog that injure someone is strictly liable for the damage that is caused – Unless that person was tormenting or provoking the dog or trespassing. This type of statue makes proving responsibility much easier for victims of dog bites. In contrast, a notice will require a dog bite victim to show that the owner knew or had reason to know of a dangerous propensity of the dog. These cases can be a bit more difficult, but with diligence and resourcefulness, quite a bit of evidence can be obtained. For example, the owner of a dog may have previously been sued because of a dangerous condition of the dog, the owner may have been cited by local authorities for something related to the dog, or the neighbors may have some valuable input about the way the dog interacts with people. The number of dog bite injuries in the United States are shocking:
According to the CDC, some dog bite injuries are more common than others. According to this data, the most common injuries are as follows:
Dog Bites Involving Friends and Family
For many, dogs are considered part of the family. So it’s no surprise that many dog bites involve people who are friends or family of the owner. These situations compose dilemmas for the parties involved. In fact, according to the CDC, 77% of all dog bite injuries involve a dog that is owned by the victims family, relative or friend. For many of the thought of suing a friend or family member seems unimaginable. If you find yourself in the situation, however, we would advise you to remember a couple important points about dog bites involving friends and family. First and foremost it’s important to remember that the majority of dog bite cases will never go to court or otherwise be filed formally. The reason for this is because most homeowners insurance policies will provide coverage for dog bites, assuming that the owner properly notified their insurer of the need for coverage. As a result it’s important to remember that you’re not directly suing your friend or family member, but rather their insurance company in most instances. Also remember that your lawyers will not do anything without your understanding and agreement. This means that they will not file a suit or otherwise make life difficult for your friend or family member without your input and acceptance. Having practice personal injury for over 35 combined years, our team of lawyers understands the need for diplomacy and tact when dealing with sensitive situations such as injuries amongst friends or family members. If you still have questions we advise you to schedule a free, no risk consultation today.
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Dog Bite Injuries and Children
According the Center for Disease Control, dog bites are a bigger health problem for young children than mumps, measles and the whopping cough combined. Even more shocking, dog bite injuries to children are more common than bike accidents, playground injuries, moped injuries, skateboard injuries and ATV Injuries. Every year in the United States, dog bite treatment cost more than a billion dollars.
Children are particularly susceptible to dog bites. According to the CDC, while adults require medical attention for dog bites 12% of the time, 26% of all children injured by a dog bite will require medical attention. Data shows that the highest dog bite injury rate for children was from the ages of 5-9. As a result of this, it is vital to teach children certain best practices when engaging with dogs. Children should be educating on the body language of dogs, and have a firm understanding of the dangers strange dogs can pose. They would also have direct instruction as to how to interact and behave around dogs, especially those they have never met. In order to keep your children safe from dog bites, we recommend teaching your child the following:
- Never approach an unfamiliar dog.
- Never run from a dog or otherwise scream.
- When around it unfamiliar dog it’s best to remain calm and still.
- If knocked over by a dog, it’s best to roll into a ball and lie still.
- Avoid direct eye contact with the dog, as that can be perceived as threatening.
- Never pet a dog without first allowing you to see and smell you.
Dog Bite Prevention
While dog bite injuries are both common and severe in the United States, there are some things that you can do to prevent these horrific injuries from occurring. The following are some tips that can help limit the amount of dog bite injuries that occur in the United States:
- Before getting a dog as a pet, it’s a good idea to do independent research and to consult with a veterinarian to learn about suitable breeds for your lifestyle and physical environment.
- If your home has children in it, it’s a good idea to exclude dogs that have a history of aggression.
- It’s wise to remain sensitive to any non-verbal cues that a child is fear for apprehensive about a dog. Fear and apprehension often lead to accidental dog bites
- It’s a good idea to spend time with the dog before buying or adopting if possible.
- Spaying or neutering your dog can eliminate a lot of the aggressive tendencies.
- It’s important to properly socialized and train any dog is entering your home.
Dennis P. Sawan
Licensed in Ohio and Georgia
Christopher A. Sawan
Licensed in Ohio and Michigan
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