Spike in Bite Injuries in California

Q: What animal is responsible for the most Emergency Room animal–bite visits?

Beware of dog.

While people visit emergency rooms for a wide array of illnesses or for injuries from any number of different accidents, one type of personal injury has been flagged as rising in frequency, especially in California: the dog bite.

Over the past 11 years, California has seen an alarming increase in the number of dog bite injuries according to data from Emergency Department records.

While the data for 2016 isn’t yet available, the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development claims the cumulative number of dog-bite E.R. visits during the five years between 2011-2015 was 187,448 cases—which already exceeds the 181,618 dog bite case total for the six-year period before that (2005-2010). And there is still another year of case reporting to add in when the 2016 figures are completed.

Some other interesting statistics reported by the California Department of Public Health and other sources for recent years include the following:

  • 77% of all animal bites treated in E.R.s in California were from domestic dogs;
  • The three breeds most frequently reported in bite incidents in California E.R.s are pit bull terriers (29%) German Shepherds/shepherd mixes (15%); and Chihuahuas (11%);
  • Children between the ages of 1-6 years old account for the highest number of California E.R. visits for dog bites.

If you or a loved one suffer a dog bite, it’s important to seek immediate medical attention because an untreated dog bite can lead to infection or even death. In addition, depending on the circumstances, you can file a dog bite lawsuit against the dog owner or another responsible party to recover compensation for your injuries.

As long as the victim was not trespassing or provoking the dog, and is able to prove ownership of the dog, the dog owner will be held strictly liable for any dog bite. In addition, third parties can be held liable for the dog bite if they were responsible for the care or custody of the dog at the time of the incident.

If you’ve been bitten by a dog, it’s important to see an experienced dog bite attorney for an evaluation of your claim. Dog bite cases can be complex. You may be able to obtain compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering and property damages. Sometimes, punitive damages may also be awarded in more extreme cases. At the J&Y Law Firm, we will evaluate your claim and help you get the compensation you deserve. Call for a free consultation at (888) 806-6722. We serve clients throughout California.