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Dog Bites

Dog Bite Accidents

Dog attacks happen more often than you might suspect. Approximately 4.5 million dog bites occur every year in the U.S., according to the National Safety Council (NSC). Although breed may be a factor, any dog will bite under the right circumstances, as stated by the American Kennel Club (AKC). If you or your child has been bitten by a dog, you may be entitled to seek compensation from the animal’s owner.

What Types of Injuries Do Dog Bites Cause?

Nearly one in five dog bites becomes infected, according to the NSC. Dogs that attack can cause a range of injuries, including:

  • Puncture wounds
  • Bone fractures
  • Nerve and tissue damage
  • Eye injuries
  • Facial injuries
  • Head and neck injuries
  • Scarring and disfigurement

What Types of Infections Can Develop from Dog Bites?

When dog bites puncture the skin, it drives bacteria into the body. It is important to get medical attention to reduce the risk of infection. Dog bites can lead to staph infections, strep infections, tetanus, or even rabies. Untreated dog bites can also lead to sepsis – a potentially life-threatening reaction of the body to infection.

Why Are Children More at Risk From Dog Bites?

Dogs bite children more than adults, according to the CDC. Children are also more likely to be seriously injured in a dog attack. Dog bites are a leading cause of nonfatal emergency room visits among children, as stated in a study published in BMJ. Because of their smaller size and inability to defend themselves, young children are more likely to be bitten in the head, face, and neck regions and sustain serious injuries that require surgical treatment. Like adults, older children are more likely to be bitten on the extremities.

Who Is Liable for Dog Bite Injuries in Rochester?

Some states have “strict liability” dog bite laws, meaning dog owners are responsible for any harm their animals cause, whether the owner knew the dog might attack. Other states follow a “one-bite rule,” meaning dog owners can only be held liable if they knew or should have known of the animal’s vicious tendencies, which is most easily established if the dog has bitten once before. New York dog bite law combines these two legal approaches. Dog owners can be held liable for injuries caused by their animals when:

  • The dog has already been deemed dangerous, or should have been; or
  • The dog has not been deemed dangerous, but the owner was negligent, for example by not putting the dog on a leash or not keeping it in an enclosed area.

Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Dog Bites?

Injuries to others that occur on the policyholder’s property are considered covered losses under personal liability and medical payments coverage in homeowners insurance policies. For example, if your child was bitten by a family dog while visiting a friend from school, the family’s homeowners policy would cover your child’s medical expenses, up to policy limits. To recover compensation for other damages under New York dog bite laws, you would need to prove the dog’s owners were negligent in some way or knew or should have known that the dog might bite and failed to warn or protect others.

Do You Need a Lawyer?

Legal representation is important if you want to recover compensation for dog bite injuries in Rochester. At Russell Friedman Law Group, we have decades of experience handling personal injury matters and a history of success for our clients. Our firm is well respected and known for our creative solutions and results-driven representation.

If you or your child has been bitten by a dog, call us at (585) 245-0255 to schedule a free consultation. We can tell you if you have a case and what damages you may be entitled to claim.

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