Dog bites, although sometimes considered minor injuries, can be severe and traumatic for those involved. To raise awareness of how prevalent these incidents are, understanding things like statistics on dog bites, Georgia’s dog bites legislation, and dog bite prevention tips can help limit your likelihood of getting bitten by a dog and help you file a claim if you have been bitten. 

Causes for Most Dog Bites

Although dogs are some of the most common household pets nationwide, they are still animals, and when they get certain feelings, they will lash out. Some of the most common causes of dog bites include: 

  • Fear. “Flight or fight” reflexes kick in when a dog senses danger, and many dogs decide to fight when in these situations. When threatened, a dog’s go-to reaction will most likely be to bite whomever or whatever they think is an aggressor. Fear makes dogs more likely to behave aggressively. Also, if they believe they are in a risky situation or if they feel like they might be harmed, they can act aggressively. 
  • Possession aggression. Possession aggression, also referred to as resource guarding, is when dogs grow enamored with their food or toys to the point where interfering with this bond is seen as a threat. Whenever someone approaches their preferred toy or food dish, possession aggression may lead a dog to snarl and subsequently bite anyone they feel is trying to take away their things. 
  • Dominance struggles. Dogs may become aggressive or bite to assert their dominance. Dominance problems arise when dogs think they are in charge. They could snarl or snap at humans if they believe their authority is being threatened. The dominance problems in a dog can be resolved with the right training and therapy.

These bites can range in recovery times and severity, with more than 800,000 ending in medical treatment annually. On average, around 16 people are injured so severely by dog bites that they pass away, and almost 50% of reported bites involve children. All dog bites should be taken seriously, helping prevent any unnecessary and devastating outcomes.

Does Dog Breed Increase the Likelihood of Bites?

Dogs with high levels of energy who are not properly socialized and exercised are more likely to bite. Biting is also more likely in breeds with higher levels of inherent aggression. Animals commonly used for defense, like pit bulls, rottweilers, German shepherds, American bulldogs, mastiffs, and huskies, have higher attack rates. However, even with these breeds, if they are socialized with proper training, dog bites can be limited.

Highest Rates of Dog Bites Across Georgia

Most Georgia counties and cities have dog-related ordinances, some of which are breed-specific to limit attacks. The three Counties in Georgia with the greatest incidence of dog bite attacks are:

  • Chatham, with 152 bites per 100,000 people
  • Bulloch, with 87 bites per 100,000 people 
  • Effingham, with 24 bites per 100,000 people 

The laws in College Park classify German shepherds, pit bulls, rottweilers, and Doberman pinschers as “possibly hazardous.” Both LaGrange and Lawrenceville have laws that limit pit bull ownership and impose additional requirements on locals who want to possess one.

What Does the Settlement for a Dog Bite Claim Look Like?

According to recent data available for Georgia, there are over 500 dog bite claims filed per year, and the average settlement value is close to $48,000. The projected compensation for each case will rely on a variety of variables because every case is different. The severity of your injuries, the dog’s history of prior assaults, and the owner’s track record with canines will all be factors.

Getting Help With a Dog Bite Injury Claim

Although some dog bites may seem minor, the risk of complications from infections or illnesses as a result of these bites can be life-threatening. If you are bitten by a dog and need medical attention, contact Lamar Law Office to file a personal injury claim today.