The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) conducted a study using information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to learn more about how common dog bites are.
The AVMA found that 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs each year in the United States. Of those 4.5 million people, 800,000 receive medical attention.
Most Dog Bite Victims are Children
The CDC says that most dog bites happen in the home. Victims are usually children around six years old. Children are more at risk of getting bitten by dogs because:
- They may not understand a dog’s signs of aggression.
- They may unintentionally provoke the animal.
- Certain dogs may not be trained to properly interact with children.
If your child was bitten by a dog, you should take them to a healthcare professional. Even if the dog bite seems to be healing on its own, you want to do everything in your power to mitigate the risk of infection.
Steps to Take After Being Bitten by a Dog
If you or a loved one was bitten by a dog, you should seek medical attention. Even if the dog was vaccinated for rabies, there is always the risk of infection.
After being treated by a doctor, monitor the affected area for pus, swelling, and redness. Dogs’ mouths are full of bacteria, and these germs can make their way inside the human body after getting bit.
In addition to seeking medical care, here are also some measure that you should consider taking:
Take Pictures of the Accident Scene and the Dog
If you can, take pictures of where the bit happened. The CDC says that most bites happen in the home. Yet, even if you were bitten on private property, you should still take pictures of the area.
Also, take pictures of the dog if possible. While VA Code §3.2-6540 does not prohibit any specific dog breeds, photographic documentation can be used to prove that the dog in question harmed you.
Keep Track of Your Losses
Dog bites can result in costly medical bills and valuable time missed from work. When filing your claim or lawsuit, you will need to have documentation that supports the cost of your injury-related losses.
The following information can be used to verify the cost of your losses:
- Your employment records and pay stubs
- Your medical bills
- Receipts detailing the cost of your medications, hospitalization, and other related expenses
- Invoices from mental health professionals and physical therapists
After the dog bite, write down your account of events as soon as possible. Your testimony could be used to prove certain aspects of your case.
Follow Through With Your Doctor’s Recommendations
Over time, your dog bite may begin to scab over and heal on its own. At this point, you may choose to discontinue taking medications and applying cream to the affected area. This halt in treatment could work against you.
You do not want the dog’s owner to claim that you made your injury worse because you did not follow your doctor’s orders. Moreover, if your failure to take care of your injury results in further expenses, the liable party may not be compelled to pay for those losses.
File Your Lawsuit Within the Appropriate Time Frame
Virginia allows dog bite victims to pursue compensation from negligent dog owners. Depending on your circumstances (such as where you were bitten), you could resolve your case through an insurance settlement. However, if the insurer does not want to settle, you generally have two years to file your lawsuit, according to VA Code §8.01-243.
You could have more time to act if you were injured as a minor, for instance. Then, you could be granted additional time from the date of your eighteenth birthday to file.
Consider Legal Representation
Dog bite injury cases are complicated. Emotions run high because people do not want to admit that their dogs are dangerous, and the claims process itself can be time-consuming. You can work with a dog bite injury lawyer at our firm on your case.
They can undertake the following obligations for you:
- Gather evidence to support your side of the story
- Negotiate with the liable insurance company
- Explain how Virginia state law applies to your circumstances
- Estimate the cost of your past and future damages
- Talk to the other party and their lawyer for you
- Litigate your case, if necessary
Money should not stand between you and securing legal aid because our team works on a contingency-fee-basis. You do not have to pay your legal team anything unless they win your case.
Contact the Parrish Law Firm, PLLC, for a Free Case Review
Truthfully, it does not matter how common dog bites are; all that matters is that you or a loved one got hurt. Our team has the resources you want to bring your case to completion. We have recovered millions for our clients, and we are eager to advocate for your legal rights.
Call our team at (571) 229-1800.