Posted on behalf of Stephens, Anderson & Cummings on Jul 12, 2017 in Dog Bite Injuries
Every year, around 4.5 million dog bite incidents take place across the nation. These attacks are more likely to occur during the summer because more people are outside.
There are several things you and your loved ones can do to stay safe this summer. The Fort Worth dog bite attorneys of Stephens, Anderson & Cummings have compiled this safety guide to help reduce the risk of a dog bite or attack.
If you are injured in a dog attack this summer, contact us as soon as possible to discuss your legal options. We offer a free legal consultation and do not charge legal fees unless there is a favorable resolution of your claim.
Why Do Dog Bites Increase in the Summer?
People spend more time outdoors in the summertime to enjoy the warmer weather. This increases the likelihood of encountering dogs, particularly dogs you do not know, which contributes to a higher risk of dog bites during the summer.
A 2009 study found a correlation between dog bites and warmer weather. Researchers from the American Academy of Otolaryngology discovered that there was a higher frequency of dog bites of children during the summer months.
The authors of study suggested that this could be because children spend more time outdoors playing with dogs in the summer, or because dogs tend to be more irritable in warmer weather.
Who Is at Risk of a Dog Bite?
While anyone may become the victim of a dog bite, certain people are at a higher risk, according to dog bite statistics from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control:
- Children are at higher risk of being bitten by a dog, particularly kids between five years old and nine years old. Typically, children receive medical attention due to dog bites at higher rates than adults. Children commonly suffer dog bites to the neck, cheeks, lips, nose and ears, with 64 percent of child dog bite incidents resulting in wounds to multiple areas.
- Men are at a higher risk of being bitten by a dog than women.
- Anyone with a dog in the home is also at higher risk. Half of dog bite injuries take place at home and are caused by a familiar dog. In adult homes with two or more dogs, the risk is five times higher than a household without dogs.
Preventing Summertime Dog Bites
Keep yourself and your family safe this summer by following these tips:
- Stay away from unrestrained dogs - Never go near a wandering dog or attempt to catch it. Lost animals may be nervous or hungry, making them irritable and more likely to bite.
- Never pet a dog without asking the owner if it is OK first - Teach children this rule, as they are more likely to go pet a dog in public without discussing it first. Do not pet a dog if the dog’s owner tells you not to.
- Do not hug or kiss an unfamiliar dog - Dogs do not enjoy being hugged or coming face-to-face with a person and putting yourself in such a position can increase the likelihood of being bitten. Allow the dog to sniff you and see you prior to petting it.
- Never tease a dog or hurt it - Reinforce this in young children who are still learning to interact safely and responsibly with pets.
- Stay calm if approached by an unfamiliar dog - Do not scream or run because you may startle the dog, and the dog may bite because it feels threatened. Stay motionless when approached. If the dog knocks you down, curl into a ball and protect your head, keeping your hands covering your ears and neck.
- Never allow children to play with a dog without adult supervision - Children are much more likely to tease or be rough with a dog, especially without adult supervision. If a bite or attack occurs, an adult can help get the dog off the child and prevent further injury.
Texas Dog Bite Laws and Owner Liability
Texas law uses negligence standards in personal injury cases involving dog bites. You must prove the following to recover compensation for dog bite injuries:
- The animal’s owner did not take reasonable steps to secure the dog to help prevent the dog bite. Reasonable steps could include putting the dog on a leash.
- The owner had knowledge of his or her dog’s past aggression, such as a previous attack.
Texas dog bite laws also allow claims based on strict liability. In these types of claims, the victim does not have to prove negligence if he or she can establish that the dog was known to be vicious, dangerous or mischievous.
Contact Our Fort Worth Dog Bite Lawyers Now
The trusted Fort Worth personal injury attorneys of Stephens, Anderson & Cummings are prepared to pursue negligent pet owners on your behalf to secure the compensation you deserve for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Contact us now to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation and learn your legal options. We work on contingency and legal fees are only charged if we are able to recover compensation for your injury.