Dogs can be a great source of companionship, as well as security. They can be vital to both the disabled and law enforcement. In fact, many people think of their dogs as family members. Unfortunately, dogs can also inflict injury and harm.
The Center for Disease Control estimates that approximately 4.7 million people are bitten by dogs each year in the United States. Of these, about 800,000 seek medical attention, and half are children.
Indeed, the highest rate of emergency room visits for dog bites occurred in children under the age of 10. The yearly hospital costs associated with dog bite victims is upwards of $54 million and insurance companies spend more than $1 billion in claims.
Injuries inflicted by dog bites can include skin lacerations, skin infections, bone fractures and even blood poisoning. According to the American Human Society, approximately 71% of dog bites occur to arms, legs, hands and feet. Yet, 65% of the bites in children occur to the head and neck.
Medical treatment for dog bite wounds can be extensive, painful and expensive in the absence of health insurance. Treatment can include stitches, casting, and even surgery.
Treatment often includes wound debridement which can be a very painful process of removing dead tissue around the wound site with forceps, a scalpel or other medical instruments. It is often done under anesthesia. In more serious cases, skin grafts and reconstructive surgery may be required. Some cases involve life-long scarring and nerve damage.
Because these cases often involve serious or permanent injuries, an injured person or family member should take a number of important steps to insure full compensation for injuries and damages.