While most dogs live up to the saying “a dog is a man’s best friend” many forget that dogs are ultimately animals and can act out at any time. According to the CDC, about 4.7 million dog bites occur each year in the United States. That means dog bites in the U.S. are very common and should not be overlooked.

Why Do Dogs Bite?

It is a dog’s instinct to protect itself when they feel threatened in any way. While it may not be our intention to threaten the dog, animals perceive our actions differently. Some common reasons why dogs bite is:

  • They may be protecting their territory or loved ones, like a mom protecting their puppy
  • They become startled when someone suddenly approaches them they are in a stressful or fearful situation
  • They get too excited while engaging in rough play
  • They are ill and want to be left alone

While it may be a dog’s instinct to protect itself, dogs are actually a lot more relational than we realize. Training a dog to trust strangers is feasible and achievable. It just may take some time.

Most Dangerous Dog Breeds

Any dog, no matter how friendly or small is capable of attacking humans. A study by DogBite.org examining dog bite fatalities from 2005 to 2017 found pit bulls to be responsible for more than half of fatalities throughout this time period (65.6% of fatalities). After pit bulls, the study found the following dogs to be responsible for dog bite fatalities:

  • Rottweiler
  • German Shepard
  • American Bulldog
  • Bullmastiff
  • Husky

While there is an ongoing debate whether certain breeds, especially pit bulls, are inherently more aggressive than others, it should be noted that some dogs have the genetic composition that makes their attacks more fatal than those of other breeds. The breeds stated above usually have a strong composition that can be threatening to human life.

What to Do if You Have Been Bitten by a Dog

Dog attacks can cause severe physical and emotional damages. If you have been a victim of a dog bite, it is important to follow crucial steps after the incident. Experts recommend to first ask about the dog’s vaccination history and the owner’s information. After you gather that information, attend to the wound and administer first aid right away to reduce the chances of an infection. Seek medical treatment if the pain is severe, the wound doesn’t stop bleeding or feel weak and disoriented.

Compensation for Dog Bites

Most states practice by a strict liability statute which dictates owners must take full liability any injury caused to their pets. Victims are entitled to receive compensation for their losses in economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages may include medical expenses, lost income from recovery, property damage, and/or punitive damages. Non-economic damages may include trauma caused by the attack, pain, mental suffering, and a loss of quality of life. Non-economic damages, however, are more difficult to prove and can greatly affect settlement amounts victims receive from insurance companies.

If you or a loved one suffered injuries as a result of a dog bite, consult with a dog bite attorney in your state to see what economic and non-economic damages you may be able to claim. An attorney will be able to help you negotiate with the owners of the dog, insurance companies, and any other parties involved.