DOG BITE STATISTICS

Previously, we discussed the laws surrounding dog bites claims in Florida. You may be wondering, however- what are my chances of actually suffering injuries from a dog bite and how bad can they be? Let’s take a look at the statistics.

According to the American Pet Products Association, there are currently 89.7 million dogs in the U.S., which occupy 60.2 million households. Studies by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reveal that over 4.7 million people in the U.S. receive dog bites each year. Approximately a third of those bites are suffered by children. Moreover, about 800,000 of those bites require emergency medical treatment, and approximately 16% result in death of the victim. More specifically, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) reported that of the total hospital admissions for dog bites, 43% of patients required treatment for skin and underlying tissue infection; 22% had wounds of the legs or arms; about 11% suffered wounds to the head, neck, and torso; and the remaining encountered issues ranging from bone fractures to blood poisoning.

Of the total number of dogs in the U.S., around 12% reside in Florida, and over 600 Florida residents are hospitalized each year due to dog bites, according to the Florida Department of Health(FDH).

An analysis of dog bites conducted by the FDH revealed the following:

• Those at the highest risk for dog bites were children between the ages of one and nine.
• In the above age group, boys were at a higher risk than girls.
• Children under the age of 10 are most likely to suffer bites on the head or neck.
• One of the most common causes of dog bites was protective behavior both on and off the owner’s property.
• About a third of all dog bites reported were from dogs unleashed off their owner’s properties.

Increase in Frequency and Severity

According to studies conducted by the HHS, dog bites are increasing in number and in severity.

In 2010, it was reported that there was an 86% increase in dog-bite hospitalizations from 1993-2008. To be exact, there were 5,100 hospitalizations in 1993 and 9,500 in 2008.

Additionally, the HHS found an 82% increase in fatal dog attacks from the 1980s to 2012. In the 1980s and 1990s, the average number of deaths per year was 17. However, in the past ten years, that number has increased to an average of 35.

Financial Impact of Dog Bites

In a statistical brief published by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), the average cost of dog-bite-related hospital visits are 50% higher than the average cost of non-dog-bite-related visits. However, of the total number of dog bites that require medical attention (approximately 800,000), only an average of 16,000 of those claims are paid by liability insurers each year, with the average claim costing approximately $37,051.

© 2017 Chelsie M. Lamie, P.A.

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