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Dog bites may be more common than most think

5/23/2014

Dogs are considered man’s best friend, but that doesn’t mean the relationship between man and canine is always positive. Dog bites are a more common occurrence in Massachusetts than some people may think, and when a pet owner’s negligence results in another person’s injury, litigation may follow.

While the media often portrays a few breeds as the most likely to bite, any dog, regardless of the age or breed of the animal, can bite. According to reports, 4.5 million people in the United States were bitten by dogs in 2013. Despite the common image, only 5,581 of those bitten included U.S. Postal Service workers, and close to half of all the victims were children. According to the American Humane Association most children bit by dogs are bitten in the neck or head, increasing the chances of a severe injury.

Almost 27,000 reconstructive plastic surgery procedures were done in 2013 to fix damage patients had sustained from dog bites, according to the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, showing how severe these types of injuries can be. In addition to the cost of the actual surgeries, victims also may have to deal with long-term rehabilitation therapy and decreased earning potential.

When a person is injured from a dog bite or other animal attack due to a negligent owner, the responsible party may be able to be held liable for the victim’s medical expenses and any time that had to be taken away from the person’s work. Even what appears to be the friendliest dog can bite, and it’s important for victims to understand their options.

Source: ABC 6, “2013 dog-bite stats include 5,581 postal carriers” Sue Manning, May. 15, 2014

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