Austin Dog Bite Lawyer
Humans and dogs can form deep bonds, based on trust, respect and mutual affection. But as much as dogs may seem like members of the family, their animal instincts can cause them to turn on people they know.
Every year, about 4.5 million dog bites occur in the United States. More than half of those bites occur in the home, and dogs belonging to neighbors, friends or family members cause a great number of dog bites, too. Some dog bites occur because owners fail to properly enclose their yards, or they allow their dogs to roam off-leash.
If you or a family member have suffered a serious dog bite, we may be able to help. Call us today for a no-obligation consultation at (855) 414-1012.
Children at Risk
Children may not understand how their actions threaten or frighten dogs, and they may not realize that their family dog is more tolerant and forgiving than dogs they encounter in their neighborhoods. This lack of awareness is one reason children are especially at risk for dog bite injuries.
Children ages 5 to 9 have the highest rate of dog-bite injuries, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Of the dog bites to children:
- 10 percent require sutures
- 5 to 10 percent result in infection
- 50 percent result in scarring
- Less than 1 percent are fatal.
When dogs bite children, injuries to the face, scalp, and neck are common. A report published in the March 2013 Journal of Craniofacial Surgery stated that of 105 children treated for this type of dog bite injury in a 10-year time span, more than three quarters required more than one surgery in an attempt to minimize scars. About a quarter of children needed a second or third surgery.
A team of doctors at China’s Peking Union Medical College Hospital studied 358 children who visited the emergency room for treatment of dog bites and other animal bites. Researchers checked children for signs of post-traumatic stress disorder, which in adults includes symptoms such as heightened stress, anxiety, sleep disturbances, depression, and flashbacks. In children, PTSD symptoms may include bedwetting, losing the ability to speak, and recreating the traumatic event during playtime.
The Peking study looked for signs of PTSD at the initial time of injury, one week later, and three months later. Overall, three months later, 19 children – about five percent –showed signs of PTSD, and about 26 percent of those who had been hospitalized for severe bites showed signs of PTSD.
If a child in your family has suffered from a serious dog bite, you could be faced with extensive medical bills for surgery and long-term care. When an irresponsible dog owner is to blame for those injuries, you may be entitled to compensation that can help you take care of your child. Find out if you have a case. Call one of our Austin dog bite attorneys today at (855) 414-1012.
Dog Bite-Related Illness
Dog bites can become infected, and some dogs carry illnesses and diseases that are extremely harmful to humans. Anytime a person suffers a dog bite that breaks the skin, it’s wise to seek medical attention right away.
Rabies is a disease that is often fatal to humans. Strays or unvaccinated animals may transmit the disease to humans through a bite, and initial symptoms may include vomiting, headache, trouble swallowing, hallucinations, and partial paralysis. A dog can be tested for rabies, but when a victim can’t find the dog after being bitten, it’s best to seek medical treatment immediately, so a doctor can begin the series of shots that keeps rabies from progressing.
MRSA – methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus bacteria – can cause skin, lung, and urinary tract infections in people. Dogs may carry this bacteria but be unaffected by it. In some people, MRSA can spread to the bloodstream or lungs and cause life-threatening infections.
Dog Bite Law – Owners’ Obligations in Texas
A fenced yard or other enclosure should not only keep dogs in, it should keep children out. And Texas law states that an owner who does not secure his dog could be guilty of criminal negligence, if the dog leaves the property and attacks someone.
Owners of dangerous dogs – those that have bitten someone, unprovoked – must register the animal with animal control, restrain the dog at all times, and obtain a liability insurance policy of at least $100,000.
Understanding Dog Behavior
Adults and children alike can help protect themselves from dog bites by understanding dog behavior.
In the event a dog seems likely to attack, remaining calm, still, and avoiding eye contact may convince the dog it’s not being threatened.
The Road to Recovery
A dog attack can cause disfigurement, serious injuries, and lifelong emotional trauma. When another person’s animal is responsible for those injuries, you may be entitled to compensation that can help you recover to the fullest extent possible.
If a dog bite has injured you or someone in your family, contact one of our Austin dog bite lawyers today at (855) 414-1012, or fill out our online contact form for a free consultation.