Dog & Animal Bites
Why do dogs bite? Dogs bite as a reaction to a stressful situation or environment. They may bite because they’re scared, threatened or to protect themselves or their owners. Dogs also bite when they are not feeling well, or if they’re startled or scared. Keep these triggers in mind anytime you are around a dog / canine, awareness of their mental state may help you recognize a potential bite situation. According to the Insurance Information Institute – one-third of all homeowners insurance liability claims (in dollars) result from dog bites or injuries related to dog actions. Every year, the insurance industry pays over $1 billion in dog-bite claims.
Who is at risk for dog bites? All people are at risk for a dog bite or dog injury. Some dog bite statistics include:
- Children – The Centers for Disease Control states that approximately half of all dog bite victims in the United States are children. The highest rate among children are ages of 5 and 9.
- Postal Workers – This may not be a surprise as postal workers come in contact with dogs everyday while delivering mail and packages.
- Extremities – Approx. 71% of dog bites occur on the extremities (arms, hands, legs and feet).
- Victim’s property – Approx. 75% of dog bites occur on the victim’s property, and most victims know the dog responsible for the attack.
How to prevent dog bites? Sometimes pets simply snap, there are unaccountable dog biting instances that no-one can explain or rationalize. More often than not – this is not the case. Below are a few things that you can do to prevent an attack.
- Allow a dog to sniff and smell you before you attempt to pet it
- Don’t approach an unfamiliar animal
- Don’t disturb a dog while they’re eating, sleeping, or taking care of their puppies
- If an unfamiliar dog approaches you, try to remain motionless. Do not run or scream, and try to avoid direct eye contact
- If attacked – roll into a ball and remain motionless. Avoid eye contact and remain calm
- Report strays or dogs displaying strange behavior to your local animal control
- You can learn more about preventing dog bites here.
What should you do if you are the victim of a dog bite? Dog attacks can result in lasting injuries that require extensive, and sometimes ongoing medical treatment and counseling. Dog bite injuries can be severe, disfiguring and disabling. Each year thousands of Americans undergo reconstructive surgery to repair injuries suffered from dog bites. In addition, victims of dog bites can suffer from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or other emotional issues that can affect their quality of life for years after the injury occurred. The Illinois Animal Control Act ensures that dog owners are held liable and accountable for injuries sustained from a dog attack. An experienced lawyer that is familiar with Illinois laws can help victims and their families receive compensation for medical bills, lost wages, emotional distress and pain and suffering.