An estimated 800,000 people in the US are injured by dog bites, many of who are children and require medical attention. Sadly, in severe instances, sometimes the attack even results in death. Pet owners are legally responsible for the behavior of their dogs, and friends or loved ones are generally the victims of a dog bite injury.
In most cases involving an attack and subsequent dog bite, the dog’s owner will be required to pay for the injury, including any scarring and disfigurement, pain and suffering, and all medical bills and lost wages associated with the attack.
Most states have statutes making it difficult for dog owners to avoid liability for injuries resulting in a dog bite lawsuit. Sometimes a person harboring the dog, often called the boarder or keeper, may also be held responsible.
Dog bite prevention
Because dog bites can result in serious injury, owners should invest the necessary time and money to properly train their pets in order to try and prevent an unwarranted attack.
Positive reinforcement dog training is a method of training that rewards good behavior rather than punishing inappropriate behavior. Punishment can be a useful form of training for some breeds.
A dog growls as a warning signal when they are uncomfortable with a person or situation. Preventing them from growling means stifling their ability to communicate their discomfort and the possibility that they may be ready to bite. A professional dog trainer can help a dog owner in managing their dog’s aggression to ensure the safety of those coming into contact with the animal.
Liability resulting from common dog bite injuries
The owner’s liability will often be determined based on their previous knowledge of the dog’s tendency towards aggression. This includes breed knowledge, training techniques, and any prior aggressive behavior. The most common injuries associated with dog bites are:
- Skin lacerations
- Puncture wounds
- Crushed or broken bones
- Infections from rabies and other diseases the dog may carry
- Loss of tissue
- Nerve damage resulting from a bite to the face, and
- Emotional scarring
Scars, infections, and even broken bones can be a serious, life-long result of a dog bite. Because they are smaller in size, children are particularly susceptible to bites around the head and face and often suffer disfiguring scarring. Scars also cause emotional injuries and lingering fears. Scars may require plastic surgery, which adds to the expenses that the pet’s owner will incur during a dog bite lawsuit, which is why dog bite insurance is vital to anyone who owns a pet.