Perhaps it isn’t all that surprising that California ranks as the number one state in both frequency and occurrence of dog bite claims. At least it shouldn’t be surprising since California has more people (and more dogs) than any other state in the country. There are about 4.7 million dog bites every year in the U.S., which means you have about a 1 in 69 chance of being bitten each year. It also means that you’ll almost certainly be attacked at some point in your life.
But while that might seem pretty bad, there’s a lot of hidden information that goes into those statistics that you might not be aware of.
For starters, most bites are minor and occur right at home. Even though bites are so frequent, someone has only got a 1 in 112,400 chance of losing their life due to a dog bite. To put it into perspective, you have a much bigger chance of being killed by a firearm in a given year: 1 in 6,905. The reason for that is probably simpler than you think.
When dogs “attack,” they’re not really trying to hurt you. They don’t want an altercation. They’re just trying to tell you they need more space. This is the number one reason why kids are the primary targets of dog bites. Kids are the least likely to understand when a boundary has been crossed. Kids are also the most likely to suffer serious injuries because their necks and faces are more likely to be about eye-level with some dogs.
Most dog bites also occurred when dogs were not spayed or neutered.
You’re most likely to get a bite from a Chihuahua than any other dog. But also high on the list are bulldogs, pit bulls, German Shepherds, and Australian Shepherds. That doesn’t necessarily mean that the dog is at fault for the aggressive behavior. Usually owners will seek out a breed of dog because of stereotypes. Dogs are dogs. They act the way they act based on the type of training they receive from their humans.
Here’s another important statistic you’ll want to keep close to the chest: insurance companies pay hundreds of millions of dollars every year due to dog bites. That means if you were bitten by a neighbor’s dog, you might be entitled to compensation. You should call a personal injury attorney right away — and keep track of all your medical records.
Any bite wound raises concerns. It doesn’t help that medical complications after a dog bite can become serious–or even deadly–after the emotional hurt you’re probably already feeling. Dogs are supposed to be man’s best friend! But sometimes we misread their intentions or get in the way of an altercation when we shouldn’t. These are a few of the complications that can result from a dog bite.
Your smallest concern is probably rabies. Chances are you were bitten by a family dog or a neighbor’s pet. Whether the animal is stray or not, you should seek medical attention right away. You’ll receive treatment for every possibility.
Infection is among the most common complications. These can result in only a matter of hours. If you notice pain, inflammation, or swelling around the bite, then you might be in a bit of trouble. Infection results in up to 15 percent of dog bites. You’ve probably heard how filthy dog mouths are, so it might surprise you to hear that this number skyrockets to about 50 percent after a cat bite!
Zoonotic diseases are those animal diseases contracted by a human after a bite. These include pasteurella multocida and staphylococcus aureus (a form of staph infection). Both are extremely dangerous. The former can result in septic arthritis or even death.
Children under the age of ten are highly susceptible to death by blood loss. That’s because they haven’t grown high enough to escape the dog’s lunge and bite, which often occur on or around the head or neck. These injuries usually present as avulsions, punctures, or lacerations. See a doctor right away!
If you haven’t been vaccinated, you might come down with tetanus. This bacterial disease attacks the nervous system. You’re more likely to come down with this disease if the bite broke the skin.
If you find that you no longer have mobility of the appendage where the bite occurred, then you should seek immediate medical attention. The same goes if you come down with fever, or incur symptoms of fatigue, night sweats, trouble breathing, tremors, or swollen lymph nodes. After a bite occurs, be sure to wash the wound with soap and water. Watch out for fractured bones or wounds that may be deeper than you thought.
Thanks to the internet we are obsessed with puppers and doggos. Unfortunately, not every dog you meet is the friendly type. In fact, in 2014, there were 42 fatal dog attacks. We are not recommending to never pet a dog again, but we do want you to be aware that dog bite accidents do occur.
Severe Dog Bite Injuries
While most dog bites aren’t a big deal, sometimes they can turn into something more. Dog bites can lead to:
damage to nerves, tendons, tissues and bones
transmission of diseases like rabies
post-traumatic stress disorder
If you’ve been bitten by a dog that is not known to you, the best thing you can do is to seek out medical attention immediately. If your medical care involves getting stitches, has chronic pain, or requires future care such as physical therapy, then the second step is to hire a lawyer.
There’s no reason that you should have to pay for this medical treatment on your own. You are entitled to compensation from the dog owner’s insurance company so you can get the medical help that you need.