According to the CDC, approximately 4.5 million people are bitten by a dog in the U.S. each year. Half of these incidents involve children under the age of 12. Not to mention, a shocking 70 percent of all fatalities caused by dog bites involve victims under 10 years old.
With this in mind, it is imperative to take steps to teach your child how to remain safe around dogs. Additionally, parents should also understand the medical and legal actions taken during the immediate aftermath of a dog attack.
Bite Prevention Techniques
Children should be taught how to handle an encounter with a strange dog at a young age.
Kids’ basic prevention techniques include never teasing a dog, avoiding strays, and staying away from their food bowl.
They should also be taught to ask a dog owner before approaching any dog they are not familiar with. Although these tips will not guarantee that your children will never be bitten, they will help dramatically.Here are some easy tips that you can use to help kids understand the importance of respecting dogs and avoiding bites!Click To Tweet
Getting Medical Attention
If you have a family pet, it will be practically impossible to prevent occasional scratches and bruises. However, if any bites break the surface of your child’s skin, it will be necessary to seek medical attention.
In most cases, the child will simply need to have the wound cleaned properly and possibly stitched up. Still, it is best to let an experienced medical professional determine if any other step should be taken.
Stray animals can carry diseases, so you should inform your local animal control office about the incident.
It is also important to note that your child may be left with emotional trauma due to the incident. You should take the time to listen to their concerns and reassure them that every dog will not bite them.
Additionally, it is a good idea to let them speak to a trained counselor if they have difficulty moving forward.
What Are My Legal Rights?
The victim often has legal recourse when they are bitten by a dog that belongs to another individual. However, it is necessary to be aware of your state’s specific dog bite laws.
For example, in Michigan, anyone who is bitten by a dog that was not provoked has the legal right to sue the animal’s owner for damages as long as they were not illegally trespassing on private property when the incident occurred. In other words, a burglar who a dog attacks in Michigan would have a tough time receiving any compensation for their injuries.
If you are unsure of what the laws are in your case, contacting a law firm specializing in this type of injury can be very helpful. Michigan is currently ranked sixth for dog bite claims, and State Farm paid $4.6 million to cover 151 claims in 2012.
Taking Legal Action
If a dog bites you or your child, it is important to contact a local dog bite attorney for assistance. They will help you understand the laws that apply to your specific situation, and they can also file a lawsuit on your behalf against the responsible party.
Keep in mind that some states, including Michigan, do not require the owner to have had any prior knowledge of possible vicious behavior from their animal to hold them accountable. Therefore, even if the dog was always friendly in the past, you still have the legal right to seek compensation for your medical expenses.
Dogs can be great companions for children, but you need to remain cognizant that they are animals and could lash out unexpectedly at any time. Fortunately, if you teach your children basic dog safety tips, they should avoid dealing with an attack in most cases.