This week (May 17-23, 2015) is National Dog Bite Prevention Week, and as personal injury lawyers, we take this matter very seriously. Dog bite victims are most often children and the elderly, and the injuries sustained can be very serious—even fatal when the victim is an infant. This week may not be as talked-about as upcoming Memorial Day weekend, but we’d like to shed some light on this serious and devastating injury.
Are Dog Bites Really that Serious?
Many people wonder why firms like Curry, Pearson & Wooten talk about dog bite injuries as part of a personal injury practice. They may assume that dog bites simply aren’t that common, or even that serious—but the insurance and medical industries sing a different tune.
There are thousands of dog bite injuries each year, and annually over 1,000 are serious enough to warrant injury claims through State Farm Insurance alone. The insurance giant has paid out over $528 million in dog bite injury claims over the last five years, many of which have been serious enough to warrant reconstructive surgery. Did you think homeowners insurance claims were primarily water damage and fire damage repair payouts? Dog bite liability payouts actually made up over one-third of total claim payments.
With the uptick in personal injury cases and insurance claims, one would think that the trend would reverse at some point, but dog bites were up considerably in 2014. Postal carriers are another demographic that are at high risk of dog bite injuries, and dog bite injuries to these individuals rose from 5,581 cases in 2013 to 5,767 in 2014.
What Can Be Done?
Dog bite prevention lands squarely on dog owners’ shoulders, and it is always important to remember that no matter how mild-mannered your dog, there is always a risk of injury to others. As a dog owner, ensure that:
- Your dog is always supervised around children or new people
- Ensure that your dog receives regular exercise, care, and socialization
- Always follow leash laws
As a pedestrian or house guest, other tips can be followed to protect yourself from a dog bite injury, but remember—the dog’s owner is ultimately liable for their dog’s behavior. To avoid unnecessary injury, however:
- Ask permission before approaching or petting an unfamiliar dog
- Do not tease or play unnecessarily rough with a dog
- Approach with caution when a dog is eating, sleeping, or injured
If you have been injured in a Phoenix dog bite injury, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries—and we can help. Contact our office today to schedule your free consultation, and learn whether you have a case against the dog’s owner.