Most children love animals, and often do not think twice about reaching out to pet a dog. Unfortunately, even an otherwise friendly and familiar dog can bite or attack given the right set of circumstances. Hot weather and outdoor activities often end up resulting in an increase in accidents and injuries, and dog bites are no exception. Unfortunately, little ones are the most susceptible to being bitten, and their injuries can be severe and even life threatening. The following provides important information for parents on both the dangers these types of injuries present, as well as what to do in the event your child is bitten.
Children and Dog Bites
According to the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), roughly four million people are bitten by dogs each year in the United States. While many of these bites are minor, over 800,000 are serious enough as to require medical treatment, and of this number, roughly 40 percent of the victims are children. In as many as half of these cases, the dog was owned by either a family member, friend, or neighbor.
While most dogs live their entire lives without ever showing any signs of aggressive, even the most mild mannered and gentlest of dogs can attack, given the right set of circumstances. The AAFP suggests that children should be trained to avoid running at or making loud noises when confronting a dog, as well as to not disturb a dog who is sleeping, eating, or caring for their puppies. Children, as well as their parents, should steer clear of any dog who appears sick or injured, and should notify their local animal control officer to help the dog instead.
What To Do In the Event of A Dog Bite
In the event your child is bitten, you should report the incident to a law enforcement officer and seek medical attention immediately, even if the injury itself seems minor. According to the AAFP, dog bites carry a high risk of infection, and which can lead to conditions that could be serious and, in some cases, fatal. Your medical professional will clean and assess any wounds your child has, administer a tetanus shot if needed, and get any general information about the dog, such as the type of dog and whether it showed signs of illness. Common types of wounds and injuries suffered by children in dog bites include:
- Puncture wounds;
- Torn muscles and ligaments;
- Crushing injuries and damage to internal organs;
- Severe cuts and lacerations;
- Broken bones;
- Facial injuries.
Unfortunately, injuries resulting in dog bites can result in lasting damage. Your child may face the permanent loss of a limb or body part, as well as scarring. Emotional trauma due to dog attacks can be significant, and your child may experience signs of post-traumatic stress disorder, including recurrent memories of the incident, sleeping problems, and depression.
Under Section 767.04 of the Florida State Statutes, dog owners may be held legally liable for the damages their animal causes. If your child is bitten or attacked, it is important to get as much information as possible about the dog and their owner, as well as to thoroughly document your child’s injuries. Be sure that the police officer investigating the incident takes pictures of your child’s injuries, and get copies of the police report to keep in your own files.
Reach Out to Us for Help
If you or a loved one suffers injuries as the result of a dog bite, contact our experienced Florida personal injury attorneys. At Hogan Frick, we can help you hold responsible parties accountable so that you can get the compensation you need to recover.