Animal attacks are unfortunately a common reason for personal injury lawsuits. There are more than 5 million dog bites in the United States every year, and almost one in five of them is serious enough to need medical attention. In the worst cases, people can become disfigured or killed by animal attacks; in just one year about 27,000 people underwent reconstructive surgery after an attack, and between 12 and 15 people die each year due to infections after an animal attack. The key for avoiding personal injury litigation as a result of a dog attack is prevention. Here are a few tips for dog owners and the general public to keep in mind.
How to keep your dog from biting
- Socialize your dog with people while it’s still young so it can become accustomed to being around people. Dogs that are more comfortable around people are less likely to bite.
- Keep your dog on a leash in public and make sure that you have some sort of enclosure in your yard to keep it from being able to run free.
- Keep some sort of enclosure in your home to keep the dog from strangers like repairmen or visitors if need be.
- Posting warning signs will not only prevent bites because people will be more careful, but it can also help you avoid liability if a bite does occur.
How to avoid being bitten by a dog
- Keep your distance from dogs until you know how they behave. Don’t encroach on a dog’s space until it is familiar with you.
- Avoid disturbing any dog when it is eating, grooming, or caring for its offspring. These are times when a dog may be more defensive.
- Read the dog’s body language. If a dog has raised hair, is showing its teeth, or is growling and barking, these are signs that the dog may feel threatened.
- If you think a dog may attack, keep calm and do not scream, run, or make advances toward it because this may agitate it further.
If you have suffered a personal injury as the result of a dog attack, the first thing you should do is seek medical attention if you need it. You should gather information from the dog’s owner if he or she is present to find out if the animal is updated on its vaccinations and is in good health. You should also collect their personal information and document as many details about the incident as you can.
If you think you may be due compensation for your injuries, you should also contact a personal injury lawyer to see what your next steps should be.