Dog Bite Fact Everyone Should Know

Most people do not think of getting bitten when they see a dog. Dogs are a common household pet, with around half of all homes in the US containing one or more of them. While most people never have to deal with a dog bite injury, they are still fairly common. Understanding dog bite injuries is helpful, especially if you own a dog or are around them often.

Dog bite facts

How often do dog bites occur?

Each year, there are approximately 4.5 million dog bites in the US. Not all of these bites cause serious injuries, but the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says that around one in every five people bitten by a dog requires medical attention. This equates to between 800,000 to 900,000 people a year.

What kind of injuries can a dog bite cause?

Dogs have very powerful jaws that can inflict serious damage to the human body. It is not uncommon for dog bites to cause the following injuries:

  • Severe damage to soft tissue
  • Severed ligaments, veins, arteries, and tendons
  • Broken bones
  • Amputation of the fingers

Children account for around half of all dog bite injuries.  Children, along with elderly citizens, are more vulnerable to serious dog bite injuries because they cannot as easily get away from an attacking dog or defend themselves.

Physical injuries are not the only kind of injury a dog bite victim can sustain. Dog bite victims have a high likelihood of sustaining emotional and psychological injuries due to a bite or an attack.

Dog bite injuries often require extensive medical care to repair, including plastic surgery to recover functionality and appearance to the bite area.

Who is responsible for a dog bite injury?

In many cases, a dog’s owner is liable for a dog bite injury. Dog owners can be held responsible for damages due to their carelessness or negligence:

  • For failing to secure a dog on their property
  • For allowing an aggressive dog to be around other people or pets
  • For not keeping their dog on a leash while off of their property, despite municipal leash laws

Steps to avoid a dog bite

If you see a dog display any of the following signs, be aware that it may be about to bite:

  • Suddenly freezes and holds its body rigid
  • Stands with front legs splayed and head low, looking at you
  • Curls its lips to show its teeth

If you feel that a dog is a threat:

  • Stand motionless with your arms by your sides
  • Avoid eye contact with the dog
  • If the dog loses interest, begin to slowly back away
  • If the dog comes at you, offer it anything you are holding to distract it
  • If the dog knocks you to the ground, curl into a ball, put your hands over your ears, and stay still

Oregon’s “one bite” rule

Oregon uses a negligence or “one bite” rule when it comes to dog attacks. If an owner does not know or has no reason to know a dog might act aggressively, they cannot be held accountable if their dog causes an injury when biting someone. However, they are now “on notice” and that was their one bite. They could be held liable for any subsequent bite and injury the dog causes to another person.