We know them as man’s best friend. Dogs are often treasured and loved members of our families, who we would do almost anything to protect us. Unfortunately some dogs don’t behave the way we expect them to. Even though they’re domesticated, dogs can exhibit some of their most primal and animalistic traits, especially when they are scared or angry.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) estimate that 4.5 million dog bites happen every year in the United States. They also say that, on average, 1 out of every 5 dog bites will become infected and require medical attention.

As you can see, dog bite injuries are incredibly common. It’s one thing if your own dog bites you. But what if you’re bitten by someone else’s dog? There are some cases in which you may be able to seek compensation from the dog’s owner. Since your ability to sue depends on the circumstances of the bite and what happened leading up to the attack, it’s best to contact a dog bite injury lawyer to find out if you have a case.

Why Dogs Bite

Most dogs don’t bite without a reason. Some dogs will nip playfully, especially if they are a herding dog, but very few actually want to sink their teeth into you.

Some people believe that certain breeds are more prone to biting than others. The truth is that there isn’t substantial evidence to indicate that a dog’s willingness to bite depends on its breed more than it does the environment they are raised/live in. Any dog can bite whether it’s male or female, big or small, old or young, or fixed or not.

Some common reasons dogs may bite include if they:

  • Are stressed
  • Feel threatened
  • Are playing a little too hard
  • Are sick
  • Are in pain after a surgery or injury
  • Are defending their territory, toys, bones, food, or puppies
  • Have been startled by loud noises, sudden movements, or being accidentally hurt or stepped on

Who is at Risk for Dog Bites?

Since two of the most common causes of dog bites are when the animal is scared or hurt, it’s no wonder that certain individuals may be more likely to be bit than others.

According to the CDC, children between the ages of 5 and 9 years old are the group most prone to dog bites. Often children at this age can hurt or startle a dog by accident, which often results in the dog instinctively biting or nipping at them.

The other group that is likely to be bit are men. The CDC says men are bitten by dogs more often than women are. This could simply be because men are typically larger, more intimidating, and have deeper voices than women do, and all of these things can scare a dog given the right circumstances.

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What You Can Do To Avoid Dog Bites

Our dogs may belong to us, and we may be responsible for feeding and caring for them, but that doesn’t mean they don’t deserve our respect. As humans, we have to realize that any animal can lash out at any time, and this includes your furry friend.

The more time you spend with your dog, the more you will learn what their boundaries are and when to avoiding crossing those lines. Additionally, you can cut down on the likelihood of dog bites by remembering the following tips:

  • Never touch or approach anyone else’s dog without asking for their permission first.
  • Avoid stray dogs altogether
  • When you meet a new dog, spend some time standing next to them before you try to touch them
  • Learn to read a dog’s body language. Bodies and tails that are stiff, ears that are laid back, and brows that are furrowed can all indicate aggression. Yawning, staring, and lip licking should also tell you that the dog may bite if it can’t get away from the situation.
  • Never reach down to pet a dog the first time you meet them. Stand a few feet away and slowly crouch down so that you seem smaller and less threatening. As you do this, avoid making eye contact until the dog seems comfortable with you.
  • Never sneak up on, make sudden movements, or make loud noises around any dog that is sleeping, eating, or caring for their pups.
  • Don’t leave children and dogs alone together. Whether it’s your dog or not, a child could do something that causes them to bite with little to no warning.
  • Lastly, if you are around a dog that you think may be about to bite, avoid eye contact, stand still with your arms down, don’t run, and don’t scream. Wait until the dog begins to lose interest, then slowly back away.

What Should I Do If I’m Bitten By A Dog?

After wounds and injuries have been properly cared for, you need to take some notes on what happened in case you may have a personal injury case against the dog’s owner. Write down details like where you were, what the date was, and what you remember leading up to the attack. If you can, try to find the dog’s owner and get their contact information.

Once you have this information, your next step should be to report the attack to animal control and your local police department. They will do what they need to in order to prevent this kind of situation from happening again. Finally, your last step should be to talk to the dog bite injury attorneys at Colombo Law to learn more about whether you may be entitled to compensation.

Why Should I Hire a Dog Bite Injury Lawyer?

If you didn’t trespass or do anything to antagonize the dog, you may be entitled to compensation. Dog bites cases are handled differently than things like car accidents. Usually, you don’t need to prove that the owner was negligent in order to recover damages from the person who owned or harbored the dog.

A lot of times the dog owner or the person who was housing the dog at the time of the bite has homeowners insurance that will cover any injuries or other damages caused by a dog bite. But, because dog bite cases can be challenging, it is important that you get the help of a dog bite injury attorney.

Dog bites can hurt physically and emotionally. They can leave you injured and cause a lasting fear of dogs that may require years of therapy. If you’re entitled to compensation for your damages, you should do everything you can to get it. Our attorneys work on a contingency fee basis and will handle your dog bite injury case without charging you a fee until we win or settle your case. Contact the dog bite injury lawyers at Colombo Law to schedule your free consultation or call us at 888-860-1414.