Every year, thousands of Americans are bitten by animals – most often dogs. In many cases, a person bitten by an animal may have a legal right to recover damages from the animal’s owner or another responsible party. This past winter in Connecticut, an unsuspecting woman working as a home health aide was brutally attacked by two to four dogs while she was visiting a patient, suffering severe injuries to her face, chest, arms and legs.
There currently are 83.3 million dogs in the USA, which are kept by 56.7 million households. See, American Pet Products Association, 2013-2014 APPA National Pet Owners Survey Statistics: Pet Ownership & Annual Expenses. According to the most recent survey data available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2001, 2002 and 2003 there were 4.5 million American dog bite victims per year, accounting for 1.5% of the entire population. Of those bitten, nearly one in five or about 885,000, suffer injuries requiring medical attention and half of these are children.
According to the CDC, children ages 5 to 9 years are at the greatest risk for dog bites, followed by adult males. Children are also more likely to receive medical attention for dog bites than adults. Dog bites send nearly 368,000 victims to hospital emergency departments per year or a staggering 1,008 per day!
In 2012, more than 27,000 people underwent reconstructive surgery as a result of being bitten by dogs.
What do I do if an Animal Bites Me or a Loved One?
The first thing you should do is seek medical attention if you or a loved one ia bitten by an animal. If the dog bite victim is not properly treated, an animal bite can cause serious injury, infection and even death if the animal was diseased. After receiving medical evaluation and treatment, you should consider consulting with an attorney experienced in handling animal bite cases. At CT-Injury Law Center, one of our experienced attorneys will be able to tell you whether you have a legal claim and what damages you might be able to recover. Call us today at 866-217-8995.
An attorney will ask you detailed questions concerning the circumstances of the animal bite. Be prepared to provide the name and contact information for the animal’s owner, if you know it, as well as the names and contact information of any witnesses. Neighbors and witnesses might help you track down an owner who is not known to you.
What Damages Can You Recover?
Depending on the seriousness of injuries resulting from an animal attack, you may be entitled to recover for:
• Medical expenses
• Lost wages
• Pain and suffering
• Property damage.
In some cases, a dog bite victim might be entitled to punitive damages, which are awarded to punish someone for his or her behavior. Punitive damages are those damages exceeding simple compensation and awarded to punish the wrongdoer. To justify an award of punitive damages, the offender’s conduct typically must transcend mere negligence, such as reckless or intentional conduct. For example, if a dog owner knew his dog was ferocious, yet repeatedly allowed the dog to run free near a playground, and the dog eventually attacked a child, an award of punitive damages could be appropriate.
If an animal has bitten you or a loved one, you may be entitled to recover damages for any injuries that resulted. Determining your legal rights can be complicated, and it may be unclear who to bring a claim against, and to what sort of damages you are entitled. To ensure that you receive just compensation, you should consider contacting an attorney with experience handling dog/animal bite cases. Call CT-Injury Law Center today at 866-217-8995 to set up a free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys.