Dog Bites Can Cause Devastating Injuries. Our Attorneys Defend St. Louis Dog Attack Victims and Help Them Secure The Compensation They Deserve.
Dogs may be man’s best friend, but dog bites and dog attacks are alarmingly common occurrences in the US. The CDC reports that almost 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs each year in the United States, and about half of these victims are children. Of those 4.5 million bites, about 20% required medical attention. That’s over 885,000 bites per year that are significant enough to require a doctor or hospital’s attention. On top of that, there are about 27,000 reported instances of reconstructive surgery annually as a result of dog bites.
Medium to large sized dogs often have powerful jaws and can easily overpower adult humans that outweigh them. Small dogs can bite as well, and their bites can still inflict serious damage. It’s the responsibility of every dog owner to take all reasonable action to prevent their dog from biting other people or animals, and yet attacks happen every day.
If you’ve been bitten and seriously injured by someone else’s dog, we encourage you to explore your legal options. You may have recourse available to you that you weren’t aware of.
Who’s At Risk for Dog Bites?
Dog attacks can happen to almost anyone, even if you don’t own a dog. Neighborhood sidewalks, public parks, even your own yard: these are all places where dog bites can—and have—occurred in the past. Despite all this, though, certain groups have demonstrated being at a greater risk of suffering bites than others:
- Young children. Children are more likely to suffer a serious (requiring medical attention) bites than any other age group, and kids age 5-9 are at the greatest risk for being bitten. If you have children, it’s important that you teach them how to interact with friendly dogs (no tail or ear pulling, no teasing, etc.), but also how to identify and avoid unfriendly and potentially aggressive dogs (tail up or straight back, teeth bared, low growling, etc).
- Adult males. Men are more likely to be bitten than women, regardless of age.
- Dog owners. A corollary relationship between dog ownership and probability of being bitten has been demonstrated, perhaps unsurprisingly. It has also been shown that having more than one dog in the household correlates with a higher likelihood of being bitten.
Common Dog Bite Injuries
The specifics of any one dog bite or attack will obviously be unique, but several types of injury recur time and time again across the country. These more common dog bite injuries include:
- Puncture wounds. The most common dog bite injuries are puncture or tearing wounds from where the teeth enter the flesh. These can be painful and damaging on their own, but they can also lead to:
- Infections. You may have heard that a dog’s mouth is cleaner than a human’s, but unfortunately, that’s not really true. Dog bites can very easily lead to infections which, if left untreated, can prove very damaging to your health.
- Nerve damage. Deeper bites (usually from larger, more powerful dogs) can sometimes damage nerves. Chronic pain and loss of mobility can stem from nerve damage, and could permanently affect your future quality of life.
- Post-traumatic stress. Have you ever known someone who was bitten by a dog as a child and has been terrified of dogs ever since? Post-traumatic stress is a very real problem for dog bite victims, and can require counseling or therapy to treat.
- Death. Sadly, fatal dog attacks are not unheard of. While much less common than non-fatal bites, dogs have been known to kill humans. Young children and the elderly are the most common victims of fatal attacks by domestic dogs.
What To Do If You’ve Been Bitten
If you’ve been attacked by a dog, the first thing you should do is assess the wound and take immediate action. If the bite is superficial, treat it with rubbing alcohol or hydrogen peroxide and wrap it with a clean bandage. If the wound is a deeper puncture wound, try to stop the bleeding by applying direct pressure with a clean bandage. If you can’t stop the bleeding yourself, it may be necessary to call for help.
If the dog’s owner is present, exchange contact information and also get the name of their veterinarian so you can verify that the dog’s rabies vaccinations are up to date. Animal Control and the Police should also be notified.
Regardless of the severity of the bite, you should go to a doctor and get the wound professionally treated to help prevent infection.
Finally, contact an experienced attorney. Dog owners are responsible for the behavior of their pets, and if you’ve been attacked without provocation you may be able to seek compensation for your medical treatment and future damages.
Our Attorneys Have a Proven Record of Success
We recently secured a significant settlement for a client who was severely injured by a dog. After being bitten on the hand the wound became infected which led to nerve damage and muscle atrophy, leaving her hand “clawed” and permanently disfigured.
After subpoenaing the dog’s health records and learning that the dog had bitten people in the past, and that the vet had warned the owners that the dog would likely bite again, we were able to decline an initial $75,000 settlement offer and instead take the case to court. The jury agreed with our assertion that the dog’s owner was aware of their dog’s dangerous behavior, and our client was awarded $900,000.
Call Us Today for a Free Consultation
If you’ve been attacked by a dog, call our offices today at 314-241-2500 for a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our experienced injury attorneys. We serve the entire St. Louis region, and are standing by right now to help you through this difficult time. .