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Dog bites more common than many people think

On Behalf of | Jun 2, 2022 | Injuries

Dogs are called “man’s best friend” for good reason. Many households in Minnesota and across the United States keep a dog or multiple dogs as pets. There are endless stories as to the love, loyalty, companionship, protection and care they provide. Despite that, there is still a danger that people will be bitten and injured by a dog. It can happen to family members, friends, workers and strangers. This is not limited to wild and stray dogs, but trained and seemingly harmless pets. Injuries can range from minor to catastrophic and even fatal. Often, children are the victims, but this can affect anyone. Whether people like dogs or not, it is important to be cognizant of the risk and know the statistics for dog bites.

Dog bites rose in 2021

According to an analysis by State Farm and the Insurance Information Institute, there were almost 18,000 dog bites in the United States in 2021. This was a spike of approximately 2.2% from 2020. The attacks cost insurers close to $900 million. On a positive note, the severity of the attacks appears to have decreased with payouts per claim declining by slightly more than 1%. The researchers stated that the past 10 years have shown a major increase in how much was paid to people who were injured in a dog attack. That amount rose by 39%. Dog bite attacks from 2012 to 2021 spiked by 9%.

Postal workers and other delivery employees are vulnerable

Certain types of jobs leave workers vulnerable to dog bites. It might have been a running gag on sitcoms that postal workers were frequent victims of dog bites as they did their deliveries, but it is statistically accurate and not at all funny. According to the U.S. Postal Service and in conjunction with National Dog Bite Prevention Week, the U.S. statistics for postal worker dog bites were released.

For cities, Minneapolis came in 19th in 2021 with 22 total attacks. Cleveland was at the top of the list and had 58 workers suffer attacks. For states, California topped the list with 656. Overall, more than 5,400 postal workers suffered an attack in 2021. Owners are advised as to how to keep visitors safe and prevent dog bites as part of the weeklong campaign. Simply restraining the dog is often sufficient. Keeping the dog behind a fence or inside the home can also be effective.

Dog bites may warrant compensation

People who have suffered injuries or lost a loved one from dog bites should understand the consequences they will face in the short and long term. Medical expenses can stem from hospital care and long-term needs. People may not be able to do the same jobs they did before. Their entire lives can be upended. Disfigurement, lost limbs, emotional trauma and more can come about from a sudden dog bite.

When this has happened, the injured must be aware of their rights. People will need to know basic facts like how much they can recover; how long a legal claim might take; what happens with the medical expenses and treatment while the case is in progress; what role insurance will play and more. The dog bite is bad enough, but in the aftermath, it is essential to be protected when weighing options. Having professional, caring and experienced advice can help with moving forward.