Illinois has the second highest number of dog bites in the nation as well as the highest dog bite payouts in the country.
There are approximately 75 million dogs in the United States, and the majority of them provide unconditional love and companionship to millions of Americans. Most people never consider the possibility of sustaining dog-related injuries until an incident occurs. Unfortunately, dog bites and attacks are far more common than most people realize.
Every year in the United States, more than 4.5 million people are bitten by dangerous dogs, contributing to roughly 1% of all emergency room visits. Dog attacks are particularly problematic in Illinois, which has the second highest number of annual dog bites in the country. According to the United States Postal Service, Chicago ranks third among U.S. cities where postal workers have been attacked by dogs while on the job.
Being bitten by a dog is an emotional and traumatic experience, and the resulting physical and emotional damages often require extensive medical treatment to resolve. If you or a loved one has suffered injuries in a dog bite attack in Illinois, there are several questions that you may have about your next steps.
Risk Factors for Sustaining Dog Bite Injuries
Statistics show that children are at a far greater risk of being involved in a serious dog attack incident: Approximately 42% of all dog bites are sustained by children younger than 14 years of age. Further studies have revealed that boys ages 5 to 9 are bitten by dogs at a rate five times higher than any other group of people.
There are several possible explanations for why children are more likely to be bitten by a dog. Adults are generally more aware of the dangers an unfamiliar dog presents and will typically approach dogs with more caution. Children, however, often approach dogs without apprehension. Many dogs that are normally docile react differently to children, because their loud and energetic actions simulate behavior displayed between puppies. Many bites sustained by children are the result of the dog lashing out from being scared or startled.
Despite this data, anyone is susceptible to being victimized by an attack when a dog is not properly supervised. Any dog can potentially bite and seriously injure a person for any number of reasons.
Common Injuries Sustained in a Dog Attack
The most common injuries resulting from dog bite attacks are facial and bodily lacerations which generally require stitches. Studies show that the face is the most common place to be bitten. Other common dog bite injuries include:
· Puncture wounds
· Joint pain and swelling
· Bone fractures
· Broken bones
· Crushing injuries
· Subcutaneous skin infections
Medical treatment for dog bites will vary depending on the severity of the injury, but often includes antibiotics, stitches, and rabies vaccinations. Severe bites by larger dogs can tear flesh and leave permanent scarring of tissue. Surgical intervention and plastic surgery can sometimes be necessary for severe wounds: every year in the U.S., roughly 30,000 dog bites require reconstructive surgery.
Medical treatment for a dog bite is not always a one-and-done hospital visit. Dogs’ mouths are teeming with bacteria which can transmit zoonotic infections causing serious illness or even death. This can delay the healing process and contribute significantly to the medical expenses of treating dog attack-related injuries.
Steps to Take After You’ve Been Bitten by a Dog
– Call 911 to report the injury
The very first step that you should take after being bitten by a dog is to call 911. Contacting the police is important, since they can assist you in exchanging information with the dog’s owner as well as generate an incident report. This allows law enforcement to contact Animal Control to report the bite. Once the bite has been reported, the owner is required to have the dog evaluated by a veterinarian within 24 hours of the incident to confirm the dog’s health and whether they have been vaccinated against rabies.
– Obtain insurance information
It’s also important to obtain any insurance information from the dog’s owner. Dog bite claims are generally processed through homeowner’s or renter’s insurance.
– Seek medical attention
Once a report of the dog bite has been generated and information has been exchanged with the owner, your next step should be to visit a hospital for evaluation. Even if the wound appears superficial, the risk of infection is high due to bacteria in a dog’s mouth. Receiving medical care for your injuries will also document your wounds with a medical professional, which is an essential part of presenting a dog bite claim or lawsuit.
Factors That Determine Your Compensation for a Dog Bite
Several factors will how much you can recover from a dog attack, mostly importantly the injury itself. The severity of your injury and the overall expenses necessary to treat the injury form an important baseline for your claim.
A number of other factors can affect your recovery amount depending on different circumstances of the plaintiff and defendant. Because every dog bite case is unique, it’s important to have a skilled personal injury attorney evaluate your case. An experienced lawyer can ensure that your dog bite case is presented properly so that you can receive fair compensation for your injuries.
The Herbert Law Firm offers free, no-obligation case reviews and consultations to Chicagoans in need of experienced legal representation for their dog bite cases.
To learn more about our personal injury services, please visit our website at https://danherbertlaw.com/practices/personal-injury/