Being attacked by a dog is a frightening experience and, unfortunately, much too common. Each year, more than 4 million Americans are bitten by dogs and 350,000 require emergency medical care (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - CDC).
A dog attack can cause serious damage including:
- Facial injuries and damage to the ears, nose and eyes that can lead to permanent scarring and disfigurement
- Bone fractures
- Lacerations and puncture wounds
- Internal tissue and muscle damage
The emotional damage from a dog bite can be even more distressing and long-lasting. Some victims may even suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Watch for signs of emotional distress following a dog attack including nightmares, anxiety, paranoia, headaches or unusual behavior.
How To Handle a Potential Dog Attack Situation
When facing a strange dog, DO:
- Keep still
- Say "Go away" or "No" in a firm voice
- Let the dog sniff the back of your hand before petting it if you are approached
- Curl into a ball and protect your head, ears and neck with your hands if you are attacked
- Approach an unfamiliar dog
- Panic - try to remain calm
- Pet a dog before it has a chance to observe you and smell your hand
- Interrupt a dog that is eating or sleeping
Teach Children Safe Behavior Around Dogs
Children are at the greatest risk of dog bites and, surprisingly, 75% of dogs involved in bite incidents belong to the victim's friend or family member. Never leave a child alone with a dog, even one regarded as friendly.
It's very important to teach children the basics of safe behavior with dogs. Have a conversation with your child frequently to reinforce these rules:
- Stay away from strange dogs
- Tell an adult if you see a dog behaving strangely or an unfamiliar dog that is loose
- Never put your face close to a dog's head or try to kiss it
You can read more about dog attacks and children at SafetyAroundDogs.org.
Florida Law on Dog Bite Attacks
In our state, the law requires that owners of dogs that bite others will be liable for the damage suffered by those individuals. The former viciousness of the dog or the owners' knowledge of that viciousness doesn't matter.
However, there are a couple of exceptions to this law. First, if the victim was on the property unlawfully, a claim cannot be filed. Second, if the victim provoked the dog and therefore contributed to the attack, the claim may be denied or the settlement may be reduced.
Let Us Help with Your Dog Bite Case
If you or a family member has been injured by a dog bite or any type of personal injury, you need an attorney with the right experience in these cases. Dog attack cases are complicated and you have the right to pursue compensation for your physical and emotional injuries. Please call The Francis Law Group for a free consultation. Attorney Tony Francis, personal injury attorney in Orlando, will fight to get you the compensation that you and your family deserve. You can reach us at 407-363-9939 or contact us via the website.