Millions of Americans are bitten by dogs every year. Over 300,000 of those bites will warrant a trip to the emergency room, and many of those will require reconstructive surgery. While most dogs are friendly, any dog can bite. Not surprisingly, children are most commonly bitten by dogs and postal workers and the elderly are also common dog bite victims.
Most dog bites involving children are preventable. Young children may be unable to understand warning cues from a dog. If an adult is present, a warning growl can serve as a sign to separate the dog and child. However, without supervision, the child may continue to “play” with a dog that does not wish to play. Bites are commonly found on a child’s face or neck. Do not make the mistake of thinking a particular dog will never bite. All dogs can bite if they become irritated, uncomfortable, or scared.
Tips for Preventing and Avoiding Dog Bites
Education is the best way to prevent dog bites. Dog owners should be educated on responsible ownership, and the general public should be educated on how to avoid getting bitten by a dog. For starters, aggressive dogs (and those with a history of biting) should always be kept on a leash when outside. Below are additional tips on how to prevent and avoid dog bites.
- Pay attention to a dog’s body language. Put space between yourself and a dog that is exhibiting any of the following body signals – tensed body, pulled-back ears, intense stare, or a dog that is backing away.
- If you think a dog may attack, do not run and scream. Remain motionless and avoid eye contact. If you notice the dog is no longer interested, slowly back away. If the dog does attack, put anything you can (jacket, purse, bag) between you and the dog. If you fall, curl into a ball and remain silent and motionless.
- If you get bitten, immediately wash the wound with soap and warm water. Seek medical attention, and report the bite to the local animal control agency. Many dog bites can be treated at home, however, more than 800,000 require medical attention every year. Your physician can help you determine whether the wound can be treated at home.
Contact Malman Law
The personal injury attorneys at Malman Law have successfully obtained compensation for thousands of clients, including victims of dog bites. Illinois is a first bite state, which means that you have a right to claim damages even if the dog has no history of biting. Malman Law will help you understand your rights and your options. You may be entitled to compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering, and lost wages. Contact us today for a free consultation.