With millions of dogs in the United States, it’s no surprise that you hear about dog bites taking place. Even the best-trained animals sometimes lash out due to sickness or fear. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), around 4.5 million people suffer from dog bites each year. It’s typically children who are bit, with those between the ages of 5 and 9 most likely to suffer an injury.

In around 50 percent of cases, dog bites involve animals the individuals were already familiar with. For example, a pet that was backed into a corner by kids who thought they were playing may snap or bite out of fear.

Around 60 percent of American households have a dog. Cats are in 47.1 percent of households, but other animals are in homes, too. Small animals like rabbits or lizards also have the potential to be dangerous.

If you are bitten by a dog, the dog’s owner is liable for the injuries his or her pet caused. It doesn’t matter if the dog had previously bitten someone or not; the injuries you’ve suffered are a direct result of the animal being out of the owner’s control. Whether or not the owner feels his or her dog is dangerous, he or she should be held responsible. Usually, you can seek compensation from the person’s homeowner’s insurance, but if not, there may be other ways to make a claim and get the money you need to pay off medical bills and other expenses caused by this incident. Your attorney can help you start a claim after you are injured, so you can focus on your recovery.

Source: Insurance Information Institute, “Dog Bite Liability,” accessed June 07, 2017