A dog bite can lead to serious physical injuries and emotional trauma. In the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, they occur more often than you might think. According to statistics, around 1,000 people each year head to the emergency room for treatment of dog bites. Around 12,480 people are so seriously injured that they end up being hospitalized. In Washington, D.C. alone, about 500 emergency room visits are related to dog bites.
Types of Injuries Caused by Dog Bites
In some cases, injuries caused by dog bites are minor, such as bruising and scratches. However, more severe cases can cause lacerations, broken bones and organ damage. The average cost for a hospitalization stay related to a dog bite is more than $18,000, so these injuries are expensive to treat.
Who Carries the Responsibility for a Dog Bite Injury?
The animal owner is generally responsible if their pet attacks someone and causes a dog bite injury, especially if they are roaming at large or unleashed. However, if the attack occurs on a rental property, the building owner may be held liable in addition to the renter.
Are There Exceptions to Liability?
If the person who was bitten, provoked, teased the animal or trespassed on the property, the owner may not be held liable for a dog bite injury. In Washington, D.C., contributory negligence comes into play. This means that if the individual who was attacked was even 1 percent at fault, they cannot claim damages. Contributory negligence is also followed in the states of Maryland and Virginia. However, there is an exception. If the person provoked or was teasing the dog and the owner had the opportunity to control the animal to avoid its attack and did not do so, the injured person could place a claim.
What to Do After a Dog Bite
If you are bitten by a dog in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area, you should seek medical care, even if the bite was not severe. A dog bite injury can transmit a number of serious diseases. In addition, bacterial infection is a real danger resulting from dog bites. Some signs to watch for include:
- Swelling and redness
- Painful to the touch or tenderness
- Tingling or loss of feeling
- Fatigue or changes in mood
- Chills or fever
If you have been bitten, you should contact the Department of Health’s Animal Services Program by calling (202) 576-6664. Animal Control is open 24 hours a day. The animal owner will be made to quarantine their dog at home for 10 days and report any signs of illness in the animal.
Contact a Washington, D.C., Dog Bite Lawyer
A personal injury lawyer in Washington, D.C., can help you obtain the compensation you deserve after suffering a dog bite injury. They can help determine who is responsible for the attack and assist in getting compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.
Roeser Law Firm
Washington, D.C. residents who have been attacked by a dog should know their legal rights and options. At Roeser Law Firm, we will review your case at no charge and determine whether you are entitled to compensation. You can schedule a free consultation with us by calling (202) 660-4070. Please feel free to contact us online as well.