This past week, there were two dog attacks in the Washington news. In McCleary, Washington, an 8-year-old girl was attacked by a 2-year-old American bulldog when the dog got out of a yard. The girl received bite injuries to her head and legs and has to receive treatment at a hospital in Olympia. (Seattle Times: http://tinyurl.com/bd6g69e)
In Wenatchee, a 43-year-old woman was attacked by an 18-month-old pit bull and she required hospitalization. In this case, the dog was euthanized because the dog was so aggressive. (Wenatchee World: http://tinyurl.com/awujn3m)
Both of these dog attacks received media attention because, in both cases, the victims required hospitalization.
How Common are Dog Attacks?
Dog attacks are very common with 4.7 million people bitten every year and over three-quarters of a million are injured so badly that they seek medical attention. In fact, nearly 50% of homeowner’s insurance payouts are due to someone being bitten by a homeowner’s dog. Approximately 31,000 are injured so severely by dogs each year that they require surgery Dog attack fatalities have gone up in the past two decades. In the 1980s and 1990s, there were an average of about 17 fatalities due to dog attacks every year. Unfortunately, since 200, the number of people killed in a dog attacks has risen to 26.
In 77% of all dog attacks, the dog is a family pet or that of a friend’s. In the Wenatchee case cited above, the dog belonged to a family member and lived in the same house as the injured woman. In the case of the McCleary girl, the dog belonged to a neighbor.
Serious Injuries from Dog Bites
Victims of dog bites should seek immediate medical attention even if the wounds are not serious because dogs can carry diseases which could cause serious illness or even death in a human. Parovirus, rabies and some bacterial infections can be potentially life threatening to a human.
Dog bites can cause serious wounds or even disfigurement. Some victims require many multiple surgeries from a plastic surgeon to repair wounds. Some victims even suffer permanent nerve damage to their limbs after a dog mauling.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control wrote a study in 2000 which looked at nearly 20 years of dog bite data and found that, of 327 people killed, in 76 of the cases, the dog was listed as a “pit bull terrier” or “pit bull mix.” The breed with the second-highest fatalities was the Rottweiler or the Rottweiler mix.
Washington State Dog Bite Law
Washington state has a Dog Bite Law, RCW 16.08.0404, which finds an owner of a vicious dog liable for damages if the dog injures another person regardless of whether the dog was previously been known to be vicious or not. The dog owner can be required to pay the dog bite victims compensation for their injuries which includes medical costs, rehabilitation costs and for pain and suffering.
Bellevue Attorney Represents Dog Bite Victim
If you or a loved one has been bitten by another person’s dog, you may be seeking answers to your legal questions. The Farber Law Group has represented dog bite victims for more than 30 years and we are here to answer any questions you might have confidentially. Call us today at 1-800-244-9087.