Each day, nearly 1,000 people in the United States receive emergency care for serious dog bite injuries, with 12,480 people being hospitalized annually. Dog bites are common, are very often quite serious, and unfortunately, they’re sometimes even fatal. If you or someone you know has suffered from a dog bite, even a minor one, our experienced Charleston dog bite lawyers at Forbes Law Offices are here to fight for you!
Contrary to popular opinion, any dog can bite at any time, and most dog bites are reactionary, not due to an aggressive or vicious dog or any specific breed. Dogs usually bite when stressed, scared, or startled or if they feel like they need to protect or defend something valuable to them, like their food, puppies, or toys.
Dogs can also bite when they’re not feeling well; if they’re sick or sore from an injury or illness, they might just want to be left alone, and a bite is the only way they can communicate that feeling.
According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), it’s suggested not to play roughly with dogs, including wrestling or tug of war, because dogs tend to get overly excited and can nip or bite during that type of play.
It’s estimated that over 4.5 million dog bites occur every year in the United States, and those are just the ones reported.
Data from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) shows that there were 81 deaths in 2021 due to dog bites or attacks. Before 2017, statistics show that men were far more likely to be killed by dog attacks than women, but in 2021, dogs killed 37 men and 44 women.
Children younger than five are more likely to be bitten by a dog than other age groups, and those aged three and younger have a higher chance of being bitten on the face than anywhere else on their body.
These dog bites typically occur while playing with a dog owned by a family member or friend.
Young children often don’t understand that their actions around dogs could be hurting or scaring the animal, and they’re also less likely to recognize body language or other signs that a dog may be nervous or uncomfortable.
While dog bites to adults are usually less severe and easier to treat, depending on the age of the victim and the type of attack that occurs, some can leave permanent damage or even lead to death.
This is especially true for younger children.
Here are some of the most common injuries that dog bite victims sustain:
In addition to the physical or emotional damages a dog bite victim may suffer, there’s also the risk of infection and disease like rabies or Pasteurella, among others. Dog bites to children should be taken especially seriously as they can be more deadly than those inflicted on adults.
It’s important to seek medical attention immediately after a dog bite so that your injuries can be treated promptly by medical professionals.
According to West Virginia Code 19-20-13, any dog owner who allows their dog to run at large will be held liable for any damage to people or property that the dog causes. This means that a dog owner can be legally held liable if their dog gets loose, and it may be difficult to prove liability in any other circumstances, such as if someone is on the dog owner’s property or if the dog attacks while on a leash.
There’s also the “One-Bite Rule,” which only applies when a dog bite happens on the dog owner’s property. If you are bitten by a dog under these circumstances, and you want to hold the dog owner liable, you’ll be required to prove that the owner knew their dog was aggressive or likely to cause injury.
Owner or property negligence can also be pursued in these cases, and your lawyer will help you determine if your case fits these criteria.
Hiring a dog bite lawyer can benefit you and your case because the statute of limitations for dog bites in West Virginia is two years from the date of the attack. Any lawsuit filed after that two-year window could result in your case being dismissed.
Some of the ways your attorney can help with your case are:
Often, in civil cases, dog owners will try to defend themselves and their dog by claiming their dog wasn’t at large and didn’t hurt anyone. If the bite happened on their property, they may try to claim that the person who was bitten was trespassing.
Dog bite cases can be confusing and may take a while to reach any kind of settlement.
Here at Forbes Law Offices, we’ll handle all of the details of your case so that you don’t have to worry about them, especially in the aftermath of an attack while you or your loved one is still recovering. Contact our office today for a free consultation and to find out how we can help you get the compensation you deserve for your injuries.
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