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Dog Bites Force 68-Percent Increase In Hospitalizations

A study on dog bites revealed a dramatic increase in hospitalizations for dog-bite injuries over the past 15 years. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs every year. Dog attacks can result in severe injuries, so seek medical attention promptly and contact a knowledgeable dog bite lawyer in the Bay Area if you have been attacked by a dog.

Dog Bite Statistics

A study by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, found the number of people admitted to hospitals for dog-bite treatment increased 86 percent from 1993 to 2008. In 2008, almost 900 people visited the emergency room for dog-bite treatment every day, and an average of 26 people per day were admitted to the hospital for treatment of their severe dog-bite injuries.

According to the AHRQ study, young children and seniors were most often hospitalized for dog bites, each with about 4 hospital stays per 100,000 people. Because children’s heads are closer to the ground than adults’, kids are more likely to suffer facial and head injuries from dog attacks.

An investigation conducted by DogsBite.org, a national dog-bite victims’ group, concluded that 44 percent of the fatal dog attacks in 2009 involved pit bulls. The organization also reported that pit bulls and rottweilers accounted for 70 percent of all fatal dog attacks from 2005 to 2009. While it may appear that certain breeds have a higher propensity to attack, bites come from all types and sizes of dogs.

Common Dog Bite Injuries

Dog attacks can cause a range of injuries. Common dog bite injuries include:

  • Skin and subcutaneous tissue infection
  • Open wounds, punctures and lacerations
  • Scars and disfigurement
  • Broken bones and fractures, especially in the arms

Anyone bitten badly enough to break skin should seek immediate medical attention because the infection rate for even minor bites is substantial. The AHRQ study found that 43 percent of people hospitalized for dog bites required treatment for skin and underlying tissue infection.

California Dog Bite Law

California has a strict liability dog-bite law. This means that a dog owner is responsible for a dog attack and the victim’s injuries unless the victim was trespassing on the dog owner’s private property. A dog owner is liable for the victim’s injuries regardless of whether the dog had previously bitten someone or whether the dog owner knew the dog is vicious. Therefore, the victim of a dog attack may sue the dog owner in a personal injury lawsuit if the attack occurred in one of the Bay Area’s several dog parks, for example, or while visiting a friend’s home, or simply walking on the sidewalk.

If you or a family member has been attacked by a dog, contact a San Francisco personal injury attorney with experience in dog bite cases. You may be contacted by the dog owner’s insurance company, but do not sign or agree to anything from the insurance company without consulting an attorney first – insurance companies seek to minimize their costs and do not represent the interests of dog bite victims.

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