Roughly 4.7 million people are bitten by dogs each year in the United States, and nearly 800,000 of those injuries need to be treated in a hospital or emergency room.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says children receive more severe injuries and are more likely to be bitten than adults, while men are more likely than women to be attacked.
Why do dogs bite?
There are many triggers that can cause a canine to attack a human, such as:
- They are reacting to a stressful situation
- They are scared or feel threatened
- Protecting their owners, puppies and themselves
- They are ill or surprised by unexpected movements
What breeds are most likely to bite?
Nearly 81% of all dog bites result in no injuries or minor wounds that do not require medical attention. The top five breeds reported for dog bites include:
- Pit bull
- German Shepherd
- Australian Shepherd
What should you do if you are bitten?
If you are attacked, first try to get to a safe place away from the animal. You should seek medical treatment for any wound that breaks the skin due to the risk of rabies and other diseases. Immediately after the attack, follow these steps:
- For deep wounds with uncontrolled bleeding, call 911
- Apply pressure to the wound after cleaning the affected area with soap and water
- Once cleaned and if the bleeding is under control, apply antibiotic cream
- Cover the wound with a clean bandage
- Report the incident to the police or animal control agency
Hold the owner accountable for the attack
After reporting the incident, contact the owner to determine whether the dog has been vaccinated against rabies. New Jersey is a strict liability state, which means the owner is responsible for your injuries, even if the animal has never bitten anyone before.
An experienced personal injury attorney can help you prove the defendant owns the dog that attacked you and that you were legally on the property where the attack took place. You can seek compensation for medical expenses and other related costs as well as pain and suffering.