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[Infographic] On a Leash: 3 Facts about Dog Bites and How to Prevent Them

West Palm Beach Personal Injury Lawyer

Dogs are almost unanimously loved and thought of as “man’s best friend“. Our natural affinity for these intelligent and faithful companions makes it challenging to understand how a dog could attack someone.

Although most dogs are friendly and well-behaved, dogs are nevertheless animals. Like any animal, they can cause serious injuries. The good news is there are necessary steps you can take to prevent dog bites, but before you can you first must understand and recognize the facts.

3 Facts About Fido…

1. You already know the dog…and the owner: Many individuals are bitten by a dog belonging to a friend, neighbor, or family member. Understandably, this can make some people disinclined to file a personal injury lawsuit. These injury victims worry that filing a claim or pursuing compensation will irrevocably damage their relationship with the dog’s owner.

2. Children are the most common victims: It is important to remember, however, that dog bite injuries are frequently severe and even fatal. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that about 4.5 million Americans suffer dog bites annually.

Out of these victims, nearly 900,000 require medical treatment for their injuries. Tragically, half of these dog bite victims are children. Dog bite injuries are more likely to occur in children between the ages of five and nine.

3. Dog bites can be fatal: Furthermore, dog bites injuries are frequently life-threatening. In 2012, for example, more than 27,000 dog attack victims needed reconstructive surgery after the dog bite accident. These injuries can range from permanent scarring and nerve damage to broken bones and life-threatening infections.

Some dog bite victims also develop long-term mental damage, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Psychiatrist Dr. Larry Schmitt reports that PTSD occurs often in children who have experienced dog bites. When PTSD occurs in kids, it can damage the child’s social, academic, and emotional development.

How You Can Prevent Dog Bites

Fortunately, there are many things people can do to prevent dog bite injuries. Prevention is especially important when it comes to children and dogs, as children are naturally curious and more likely than an adult to approach a strange dog.

According to the CDC, here are some dos and don’ts for dogs:

When approaching an unknown dog, do:

  • Stay motionless (teach kids to stay “as still as a statue” or play the freeze game)
  • Curl into the fetal position, with your arms over your head, if a dog knocks you down
  • Tell the dog’s owner as soon as you notice any strange or aggressive behavior from the dog

At the same time, do not:

  • Run from a dog
  • Go up to a strange dog
  • Make loud noises around the dog or show panic
  • Disrupt a sleeping or resting dog
  • Approach a dog that is caring for puppies
  • Pet a dog without asking for permission
  • Allow children to play with a dog without the owner or a responsible adult present

In the event of a dog bite attack, you can prevent injuries by doing the following:

  • Putting a jacket, backpack, or purse between you and the dog
  • Immediately washing any wounds with soap and water
  • Getting medical help right away
  • Contacting the police as soon as possible
  • Notifying the owner the dog has attacked

Because dogs can transmit a number of infectious diseases, including rabies, MRSA, and tetanus, it is very important to obtain medical attention for any injuries as soon as possible. Do not assume your injuries are minor. An infection can occur in even a minor puncture wound or scratch. Let your doctor decide the best course of treatment for your injuries.

Get Answers in Your Dog Bite Case

If you or a loved one has been attacked by a dog, your West Palm Beach personal injury lawyer can help you explore your options. After a serious dog bite or attack, you may experience a range of emotions.

You might need to take time off work and figure out how you are going to pay medical bills. But regardless of how devastating, you do not have to deal with all of this alone. A West Palm Beach personal injury attorney can answer your questions and help you decide how to proceed.

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