Approximately half of the 4.7 million dog bite victims in the United States each year are children. And while it is very rare for a dog bite to result in a fatality or necessitate major medical treatment, children are often bitten on the face, leaving permanent scarring or disfigurement.
What to Do If Your Child is Bitten
Even if a dog is gentle, the best way to prevent dangerous situations is to supervise all interactions between your child and any dog. There are times, however, when your child is out of your sight, or may be around unfamiliar dogs. If things go awry and your child is bitten, you should:
• Obtain medical attention immediately and ensure that no others are in danger while you attend to your child
• Report the incident to law enforcement and the local animal control officer
• In addition to medical help, have your child assessed for emotional stress
• If you would like information concerning legal issues related to the dog bite, contact a Washington DC dog bite attorney immediately
Liability for Dog Bites in the District of Columbia
In contrast to the majority of the other fifty states, the District of Columbia lacks a specific dog bite statute. Rather, the district’s laws prevent pet owners from letting their dogs roam freely without a leash or other means of supervision.
DC Statute 8-1812 dictates that lack of knowledge about a dog’s proclivity to display aggressive behavior alone does not exonerate the owner from negligence if the animal injures a person while running around at large.
Most dog bite cases in Washington DC are dealt with according to the common legal concept of negligence. According to this concept, it must be shown that a dog’s owner failed to exercise reasonable care to restrain the dog, and this failure contributed to the child’s injury.
Dog Bite Statistics
There are 70 million dogs in the United States. That’s the equivalent of one dog for every 4.5 people. Some additional dog bite statistics include:
• 4.7 million people are bitten by dogs every year- 20% of those require medical attention
• Dog bites are the send over 330,000 kids to the emergency room every year
• 27,000 people undergo reconstructive surgery every year as a result of dog bites
• There were 31 dog bite related deaths in 2013
• In 2013, dog bite claims constituted one-third of all homeowners’ liability insurance claims
• Dogs are much less likely to attack a child in the presence of an adult
Contact Our Washington DC Dog Bite Attorneys
At Patrick Malone & Associates, our child injury lawyers have extensive experience representing injured children and families in Washington, DC metro area, Virginia, and throughout the State of Maryland. If your child has sustained a serious injury due to a dog bite, we can help. Our Washington DC dog bite lawyers understand how traumatic a dog bite attack can be. We also know that children often require extensive plastic surgery to prevent scarring or disfigurement from occurring. Call us at 1-202-742-1500 or 1-888-625-6635 or fill out our confidential contact form for a FREE Consultation and review of your case.
The child injury attorneys at Patrick Malone & Associates have successfully represented injured individuals in Washington, DC, Arlington, Alexandria, Annapolis, Rockville, Baltimore, Richmond, Fairfax, Maryland, and throughout Virginia.