When we think about dog bites, it’s more than just an occasional news story. Dog bites are a significant public health concern in the United States, with numerous incidents occurring annually.  There are some crucial statistics, especially when we look at the national level and then zoom into Utah.

Understanding these numbers and the legal maze of dog bite injury claims can help in both prevention and knowing what to do if an unfortunate incident occurs.  As a Utah personal injury law firm, Craig Swapp & Associates understands the gravity of dog bites and the trauma they can inflict.

National Dog Bite Statistics

Dog bites in the United States represent a significant and often overlooked public health issue. Annually, an estimated 4.5 million Americans are bitten by dogs. This high number of incidents points to a widespread challenge that affects people across the country. Among these cases are severe enough to require medical attention, underscoring the potential for serious harm.

A critical aspect brought to light by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is the risk of infection. Dog bite wounds can become infected due to bacteria present in a dog’s mouth. These infections can lead to further health complications, adding another layer of concern to dog bite incidents.

Utah Dog Bite Statistics

In Utah, dog bites are particularly alarming when viewed through the lens of economic impact and injury severity. According to a study by QuoteWizard, Utah had ranked third in the nation regarding the average cost per dog bite claim. This high ranking is indicative of the serious nature of dog bite incidents in the state.

In 2018 alone, there were 116 dog bite claims filed in Utah, with the average claim costing more than $45,000. This culminated in more than $5 million in total settlements, a substantial financial burden that reflects the severity and consequences of dog bites in Utah.

The fact that Utah was once next to New York and New Jersey in terms of settlement figures is a stark indicator of the serious nature of dog bite incidents in the state. These statistics not only reflect the physical and emotional impact on the victims but also underscore the significant economic repercussions resulting from these often preventable incidents.

Who Are More at Risk of Dog Bites?

The Humane Society’s findings reveal that children are disproportionately affected, accounting for over half of all dog bite victims in the United States. This vulnerability is particularly pronounced among children aged 5 to 9, who have a 20% chance of getting bitten by dogs.

This age group’s high incidence rate highlights their natural curiosity and lesser awareness of the potential dangers posed by dogs. This alarming trend underscores the critical need for comprehensive education aimed at teaching children safe and respectful ways to interact with dogs, thereby reducing the risk of such unfortunate incidents.

Dog Breeds Commonly Involved in Dog Bites/Attacks

Certain dog breeds are more frequently involved in bite incidents. Pitbulls, German Shepherds, and Rottweilers are the most common breeds, accounting for nearly 75% of all bites reported annually in the U.S. In 2023, the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) reported that pit bulls were responsible for more than half of all documented dog bite incidents nationwide.

Common Types of Dog Bite Injuries

Dog bite injuries encompass a wide spectrum of physical and psychological effects. The severity and potential consequences of dog bites include injuries such as:

  • Minor Cuts and Bruises
  • These are the most common and least severe injuries resulting from dog bites. They typically require minimal medical treatment, such as cleaning and bandaging.
  • Puncture Wounds
  • Dogs’ sharp teeth can cause deep puncture wounds. These injuries are concerning because they are prone to infection and may require medical attention to clean and close the wound properly.
  • Lacerations
  • These are deep cuts or tears in the skin. Lacerations can be quite severe, potentially damaging muscles, nerves, and blood vessels. They often require stitches and carry a risk of scarring.
  • Infections
  • Dog mouths contain bacteria that can lead to infections in bite wounds. Signs of infection include redness, swelling, warmth, and pus. Medical treatment with antibiotics is usually necessary to prevent complications.
  • Crush Injuries
  • Larger or more powerful dog breeds can exert significant force, leading to crush injuries. These can involve broken bones and damage to soft tissues, often necessitating medical intervention.
  • Scarring and Disfigurement
  • Severe dog bites can leave lasting physical marks, such as scars or disfigurement. In some cases, plastic surgery may be needed to improve the appearance and function of the affected area.
  • Rabies and Other Diseases
  • Although rare, dogs can transmit rabies and other diseases through their saliva. Prompt medical evaluation is crucial after any dog bite to assess the need for a rabies vaccination.
  • Emotional and Psychological Trauma
  • Beyond the physical injuries, dog bites can have a profound psychological impact. Victims, especially children, may experience lasting fear of dogs, anxiety, and symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
  • Secondary Infections and Complications
  • Some dog bite injuries can lead to secondary infections like tetanus or sepsis, especially if not treated promptly or adequately.
  • Nerve and Muscle Damage
  • In more severe cases, dog bites can cause nerve and muscle damage, leading to loss of function or sensation in the affected area. This can require extensive rehabilitation or surgical intervention.
  • Understanding these various types of dog bite injuries highlights the need for immediate and appropriate medical attention and legal action following a dog bite, as well as the importance of preventive measures to avoid such incidents.

Deaths From Dog Bite Injuries

Fatalities resulting from dog bite injuries, while rare, present a grim aspect of these incidents. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported a concerning trend: between 2017 and 2021, females experienced a higher incidence of fatal dog bite attacks compared to males.

This data underscores the indiscriminate and unpredictable nature of such attacks, emphasizing the critical need for heightened public awareness and robust preventative strategies to mitigate the risks associated with dog bites and ensure community safety.

Take Legal Actions for Your Dog Bite Injury, Talk to Our Utah Dog Bite Lawyers Today

In Utah, victims of dog bites have legal options. Craig Swapp & Associates, as Utah personal injury lawyers, emphasize the importance of understanding the rights and legal remedies available to dog bite victims. Our Utah dog bite lawyers are well-versed in Utah dog bite laws and can provide legal assistance. As Utah dog bite attorneys, we strive to ensure that victims receive the compensation they deserve for their injuries and trauma.

If you or a loved one has suffered a dog bite injury in Utah, contact us for a free consultation. Our dedicated team of Utah dog bite attorneys is committed to helping you navigate the complexities of personal injury law and securing the justice you deserve.

Written By: Ryan Swapp     Legal Review By: Craig Swapp