National Dog Bite Prevention Week took place during the third full week of May and focused on educating people about preventing dog bites. Dog bite prevention activities are important in the Tallahassee area because dog bite injuries can be extremely disfiguring and costly, and often result in the victim needing a Tallahassee personal injury attorney.
Dog Bites In The United States And Florida
Dog bites are a serious public health problem that cause physical and emotional damage to young children as well as adults.
Dog bites account for more than 90 percent of all animal bites suffered by humans. Every year approximately 880,000 dog bite victims seek emergency medical care and more than 30,000 victims require reconstructive surgery to close dog bite wounds and repair serious injuries.
In Florida, over 600 Floridians are hospitalized each year due to dog bite injuries and an average of 2 Floridians die from these injuries.
Recently, an in-depth analysis of almost 800 dog bites was performed by the Florida Department of Health. The study revealed the following data:
– Children younger than 6 years old and boys ages 6-14 were the most likely to be bitten by a dog;
– Most dog bites involving a child younger than 6 years old were caused by a dog known to the family (86 percent). Additionally, more than half of these bites occurred at the family home; and
– The cause of 39 percent of bites to children who were younger than 6 years old was unknown, suggesting that the young children were unsupervised when near the dog.
Dog Bite Injuries And Treatment
Where exactly a person receives a dog bite often depends on the size of the victim and the size of the dog. Adults tend to be bitten on the arms and legs. However, 70 percent of bite injuries to children are to the head, neck, and face.
It is important to seek medical attention for any serious dog bite. With any bite that breaks the skin, a thorough wound cleaning is necessary to prevent bacterial infection. The risk of other infections, including tetanus and rabies, also should be considered.
Recovering The Costs Of A Dog Bite Injury
Along with the physical and emotional damage caused by a dog bite injury, dog bite accidents have financial costs. These costs can include emergency department treatment costs, physician and surgeon fees, laboratory and radiology charges, hospital charges, and prescription or over-the-counter medications.
In 2010, the average cost per dog bite claim paid by State Farm Insurance was $38,400.
Who Can Be Held Responsible For Dog Bite Costs
Who can be held responsible for a dog bite injury depends on a number of factors. In Florida, a dog owner is strictly liable for a bite caused by his or her dog and, in many cases, the owner’s “homeowner’s policy” will cover the cost of any bite injuries.
However, sometimes matters can become complicated when it comes to determining where the bite incident occurred and whether the victim had permission to be at that location. For example, dog bites frequently involve children who are bitten while on a neighbor’s property and issues often arise as to whether the child had permission to be on the neighbors land.
Issues can also arise when a dog bite occurs during the time when a third party is caring for a dog who is owned by someone else (such as when the owner is on vacation).
Because establishing responsibility in dog bite cases can be tricky, it is important to contact a Tallahassee personal injury attorney before talking to any insurance adjuster or giving any official statement. An attorney at Fasig & Brooks can act as your advocate and work to make sure you receive maximum compensation for any injuries you or your family member suffered. Call us today at (850) 222-3232.