You know the saying that a “dog is man’s best friend?” A dog can absolutely be a wonderful addition to any family. In 2017, there were an estimated 90 million dogs throughout the United States. While the vast majority of dogs are usually harmless, any dog can react in an aggressive manner if provoked and sometimes without provocation. Here in the United States, dog bites are incredibly common. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), around 4.7 million dog bites occur in the U.S each year. Dog bites can result in severe and debilitating injuries and dangerous infections. If you or a family member are injured in a dog attack, you may be able to pursue compensation for your injuries.
The Implications of a Dog Bite
Every single year, an average of 800, 000 Americans suffer dog bite injuries that result in hospitalization. According to the CDC, approximately 20% of all dog bites require some form of medical treatment. Dog bites can cause long-term nerve damage and infections. It is not uncommon for scars to be left behind from puncture wounds. In Wisconsin, pursuant to section 174.02 of the Wisconsin Statutes, a dog owner (or keeper) is strictly liable for injuries caused by a dog. There can also be situations where a dog owner is liable for “double damages” if the owner’s dog had previously (without provocation) bitten a person with sufficient force to break the skin and cause permanent physical scarring or disfigurement (see Wis. Stat. § 174.02(1)(b)).
It is also not uncommon to be injured by the dog of a friend or family member. Making a claim against a loved one if you have been injured can be awkward or uncomfortable. However, Wisconsin is a “direct action” state, which means you do not have to bring a claim or lawsuit against your loved one. Rather, you can deal directly with an insurance company (assuming your loved one had insurance coverage). This is another topic that should be discussed with a knowledgeable attorney who understands not only personal injury law but insurance coverage law.
Listed below are some of the most dangerous consequences of a dog attack:
- Injuries to Children: 50% of dog bite victims are young children between the ages of five and nine. Children are more susceptible to extreme dog bite injuries for a number of reasons, including their smaller stature and their inability to recognize when a dog may become hostile. Many children that are bitten by dogs suffer wounds to the face or throat. If your child has been attacked by a dog, it is important to seek out immediate medical attention. If your child was injured by a dog, it is important to talk to an experienced personal injury lawyer. There are limitations in Wisconsin on negligence attributable to children, and in fact, there is a statutory presumption that children under seven years old are incapable of contributory negligence (see Wis. Stat. § 891.44). This can be an important factor in resolving a claim for a child’s injury caused by a dog.
- Flesh Wounds: Regardless of the victim’s age, dog bite injuries can be incredibly dangerous. Serious puncture wounds can result in loss of limb function, dangerous amounts of bleeding, and severe pain. If you have suffered a flesh wound, it is possible that you could lose some mobility on a permanent basis and be physically scarred for the rest of your life. If a large amount of blood is lost, injuries can be fatal.
- Infections: Approximately 18% of all dog bite wounds result in infection. Common bacterial infections include rabies, tetanus, MRSA, and Pasteurella. Rabies is a virus that affects the brain, and in many cases, it is life-threatening. Tetanus is a toxin that originates from bacteria, and in severe cases, it can cause paralysis. Both MRSA and Pasteurella are bacteria that can be transferred from dogs to humans, and they come with a wide array of medical complications. If a dog bite results in an open wound injury, speak with a medical professional regarding the possibility of infection.
Contact a Green Bay Dog Bite Lawyer
At Herrling Clark Law Firm, Ltd., we are dedicated to helping our clients secure the injury compensation they deserve. Dog bite injuries can come with any number of long-term health issues. When children are involved, dog bites can be especially serious. Your family should not have to pay for costly medical bills and therapy sessions following a dog bite. To schedule a complimentary consultation with a knowledgeable Appleton personal injury attorney, contact our office today at 920-739-7366.