While dog bites may not grab major newspaper headlines very often, it doesn’t mean they aren’t important to the victims and those insuring the victims. Animals still attack people, and the elderly and young children often serve as the primary victims of such attacks.
According to the CDC, every year there are roughly 4.7 million people who are bitten by dogs. Approximately 800,000 of those dog bites lead to a person seeking medical attention. Most shocking, about 16 people who are bitten by dogs also end up dying each year.
According to recent national data, it appears that dog bites are on the rise. State Farm Insurance paid out a total of $109 million for around 3,800 dog bite claims in 2011. In 2010 the total payout was $90 million for about 3,500 claims. Additionally, the Insurance Information Institute reports higher payouts with an estimation that insurance companies paid out a total of $479 million in 2011 alone. That represents a pretty substantial rise from 2010, when $413 million was paid out due to dog bite claims.
Children between the ages of 5 and 9 are the most vulnerable for such attacks. The second most vulnerable group is the elderly. The third group with the best chance of being attacked by a dog is, perhaps unsurprisingly, mail carriers. Though mailmen may seem very likely to be bitten by a dog, given the image seen on TV and in movies, the fact is that young children are some 900 times more likely to be bitten than a mailman.
When it comes to promoting dog safety for children, the ASPCA says that children should make sure to never do the following things:
• Stare into a dog’s eyes;
• Go up to a chained dog;
• Tease a dog;
• Touch a dog that is sleeping;
• Try to play with a dog that is eating;
• Run or scream if a stray dog comes up.