Tips on Protecting Yourself From Dog Bites
I’m Ed Smith, an Orangevale personal injury lawyer. Dog bites are fairly common. About, 4.5 million men, women and children suffer dog bites annually in the United States. Whether you are a mail man or a jogger, knowing how to protect yourself from a potential dog bite is critical.
Danger of Dog Bites
According to the American Veterinary Medical Foundation, 20 percent of individuals bitten by dogs require some form of medical care. This means close to 900,000 people are seen by a doctor due to a dog bite every year. Of that number, 450,000 are children. Not only are dog bites susceptible to infection, but the tearing nature of the bite can require extensive plastic surgery to repair. Aside from children, senior citizens are most often seriously injured in dog attacks. Men are more commonly bitten than women.
Pay Attention to the Dog’s Body Language
Dogs use body language to communicate with humans. Dogs often bite out of fear or nervousness. Sometimes, they have been taught that humans pose a danger to their well being. Whatever the reason, the following are some examples of dog language:
- Holding their body tense
- Stiffening their tail
- Eyes slightly rolled so the white of the eye is visible
- Staring at you
- Backing away from you, usually by a few steps
- Showing teeth
- Ears flattened against their head
- Episodes of licking their lips or flicking their tongue
- Holding their tail erect and wagging it slowly
When you see any of these warning signs that a dog bite might be imminent, use extreme caution.
What You Should Do if a Dog Displays the Warning Signs
There are things you can do to avoid a traumatic injury resulting from a dog bite. Some may surprise you, but most experts agree that following these suggestions may give you a measure of protection.
- Never run: The likelihood you can outrun a dog is slim. In addition, the act of running provokes the dog since they are prey driven. Instead, think of yourself as a tree and stand perfectly still. Don’t look at the dog. Look down at your feet instead. Fold your arms over your chest. This may make the dog feel you are not worth attacking and depart.
- Keep thinking what to do next: In the moments before a pending attack, you have to use your mind to stay safe. Thinking you can fight off a dog, particularly a large one, is not a good idea. For example, if a dog bites your leg, trying to shake it off will only cause a deeper and bigger wound. The dog will hold on much as they do with a toy.
- Never look the dog in the eye. This is a sign of challenge to the dog. In this situation, the last thing you want to do is look like a threat.
- If you are carrying a purse or a backpack, use it as a buffer between you and the dog. Biting your purse is preferable to your arm.
- In the event the dog knocks you to the ground or you fall trying to run, roll up into a ball. Protecting your face, neck, ears and head is primary, so tuck your head into your arms and cover your face and ears the best you can.
Who Is Responsible for a Dog Bite?
While the dog may do the biting, it is the owner who is responsible for the damages, according to California Civil Code 3342. This is true whether or not the bite occurred in a private yard or on a public street. It is also the case whether the dog was ever thought to be vicious, or the owner knew or didn’t know about previous aggressive behavior. If it happens on the owner’s property, the person who was bitten must be there legally. This provision does not apply to the use of a dog by a governmental agency, however. Because the state of California is a strict liability state when it comes to dog bites, you only need to show you were bitten. An experienced personal injury lawyer in Orangevale can take the matter from there.
Injuries in a Dog Bite
Dog bites can result in puncture wounds and torn flesh. Bites to the ears and nose can cause traumatic, disfiguring results. Facial wounds often need rounds of plastic surgery. In many cases, an older person can be pushed to the ground, facilitating a pelvic or hip fracture. Head injuries are common and might result in serious injury. Deaths due to a dog attack do happen.
Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer in Orangevale
I’m Ed Smith, an Orangevale personal injury lawyer. If you or a family member suffered dog bite injuries, you may have mounting financial repercussions.These are often due to medical bills, lost time from work or dealing with emotional and psychological trauma. When that happens, call me at 24/7 for friendly and free advice. If you are not in the calling area, use my toll free number at (800) 404-5400. You can also contact me online.
Look at my Yelp reviews as well as those on the legal site Avvo and Google to get an idea about my law practice. If you are curious about what I’ve done for former clients, go to settlements and verdicts.
I am a trial attorney member of the Million Dollar Advocates. This forum only allows members who have previously won $1 million.
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Top Photo Attribution: https://pixabay.com/en/doberman-dog-animal-world-animal-1334497/
Final Photo Attribution: Orangevale Personal Injury Attorney, Ed Smith
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