National Dog Bite Prevention Week takes place this April. It is a time in which several organizations, including the American Veterinary Medical Association, remind residents of Charlotte and other North Carolina communities of the important responsibility that pet owners and others have to keep people, especially children, safe around household pets. When a pet owner fails in this responsibility, they can be held legally accountable.
Dog bites remain a significant cause of injuries in this country. Estimates are that, in 2018, 4.5 million people across the nation suffered an injury from a dog bite.
All too frequently, these injuries are serious. In 2017, for instance, 350,000 people wound up going to the emergency room seeking treatment for a dog bite wound. Of these 350,000 people, 10,600 were children under the age of two.
Indeed, minors are most frequently the victims of dog bites. Of the 4.5 million dog victims in 2018, over half were children. This means well over 2 million children in North Carolina and the other states got hurt by a dog. Not surprisingly, children are also much more likely to suffer a serious injury due to a dog bite.
These injuries also cost a lot of money to recover from, due to medical bills, ongoing treatment and the like. Estimates are that, on average, an insurance company will pay just over $39,000 to resolve a personal injury claim due to a dog bite. On the whole, insurance companies paid about $675 million in 2018 just to resolve dog bite claims.
Of course, how much an individual is entitled to in compensation after a dog bite depends on the facts. In addition to medical bills, including bills for cosmetic or other restorative surgery, a victim may have lost wages and other costs. Additionally, they may be entitled to damages for pain and suffering and emotional distress.