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How much can a dog bite cost you, really?

On Behalf of | May 31, 2022 | Personal Injury |

While catastrophic and fatal attacks by dogs often make the news, the reality is that most dog bites are relatively minor – or so they may seem.

A little nip from an overly-excited puppy or a quick snap by an older dog that’s just not feeling well may hardly seem dangerous, but dogs carry a ton of bacteria in their mouths that can make humans very sick. 

Dog bites cost thousands every year

Nobody wants to bring a claim against a friend, relative or neighbor over a dog bite, but that’s exactly why insurance exists — and most people would struggle with the expenses related to a dog bite without it.

Ultimately, nearly 18,000 dog bite claims were made in 2021, and the average cost of each was just over $49,000. Since compensation is based largely on the losses suffered by a victim, that tells you exactly how pricey medical care for a bite can be.

Know when you need to seek treatment

In general, if a dog’s tooth breaks your skin, you need medical treatment right away. Puncture wounds caused by a tooth can drive bacteria deep into the wound, which can lead to sepsis and all kinds of unpleasant consequences. A dog bite isn’t the sort of injury you can safely treat on your own with topical antibiotics.

Even after initial wound care, be on the watch for signs that you have an infection. These include:

  • The wound starts to feel worse over time, not better
  • The wound initially starts to improve, then gets painful again
  • There is redness and heat around the wound 
  • The skin around the wound becomes shiny, hard, especially tender or stiff
  • You start to run a fever or have any other symptoms you question

When you’re unsure what to do about your medical bills and other expenses after an animal attack, including lost wages while you went for treatment or recovered, legal guidance can be key to the compensation you need.