Dog Bite Injuries and Prevention
Every year throughout the United States there are approximately 4.5 million dog bite events, and at least 20 percent of the injuries become infected. Given these statistics, it is no surprise these animals are descendants of the grey wolf.
Dogs have a strong and mostly friendly relationship with humans, even to the point that they live side by side with you inside your home. A pet dog can get you out of your home for a much needed daily bout of exercise, they enjoy playing games, and can serve therapeutic purposes as well. Typically, dogs are fun to be with for all the family, but they are dogs – not people – and they can behave in an unpredictable way.
Under Missouri Law, when your dog bites someone else, the owner is responsible for all of the injuries caused. This includes medical expenses, future scar revision surgeries, pain and suffering, lost wages, and other damages related to the attack.
All Too Often The Family Pet Bites
Dogs can sometimes exhibit unpredictable behavior and lash out. Often, these attacks happen with barely a moment’s notice for you to retreat or retaliate. Dogs are successful predators and occasionally when they bite, they intend to kill, so they dig deeply into the part of your body that has fallen victim to the attack.
Dog bite victims are often left with disfiguring lacerations to the face and flesh torn from your arms and other parts of the body. Children who appear weak to a dog are more likely to be victims of a pet dog bite that anyone else in your family. Children are also more commonly bit in the face given their smaller stature. Dog bite scars can last a lifetime if not treated properly right away.
How To Prevent A Dog Bite
Dog owners need to know that the number one way to prevent a dog bite is to restrain your animal. Dog owners need to be familiar with their animals and keep small children and others away from the animals, whether they are prone to biting or just to be safe.
If you are approached by an unfamiliar dog running in your direction and an attack could be imminent, you should stop and not move until the threat has passed. If a dog gets so close you are knocked down, you should hug your knees with your arms and head and cover your ears with your hands until the threat is over. These are simply suggestions and if it is possible to get out of harms way before the attack occurs, it is of course your first priority.
Actions to Avoid In The Presence Of A Dog
- approaching an unfamiliar dog;
- running from a dog;
- panicking or making loud noises in the presence of a dog;
- disturbing a dog that is eating, sleeping or looking after puppies;
- surprising a dog by petting it when it isn’t fully aware of your presence;
- encouraging your pet dog to play in an aggressive way;
- allowing young children to play with any dog unsupervised.
If you are approached by a dog that appears to be acting aggressively, stop, stand still and don’t look the animal in the eye. You should position yourself with your side facing the dog, as directly facing the dog may make it think you could act aggressively towards it. The next thing to do is place your hands on your neck and tuck in your elbows. This minimizes the possibility of being attacked and bitten.
Who Is At Fault After A Dog Bite?
Section 273.036.1 of the Missouri Revised Statutes states that the owner of a dog is strictly liable if his or her dog bites you and causes injuries when you are on public or private property on which you are legally allowed to be.
If you are bitten by a dog in the State of Missouri, you may be entitled to file a dog bite claim against the dog owner to cover medical costs, loss of earnings, pain and suffering, and all of your other dog bite injuries. The statute of limitations in Missouri for a dog bite claim is typically 5 years from the incident, however, it is important an investigation occurs immediately to ensure the dog does not attack anyone else.
If you have been bitten by a dog and sustained an injury, call our lawyers for dog bites to discuss your right to reimbursement. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to provide injury victims with a free consultation. Call (314) 409-7060.