The True Costs of a Dog Bite

Categories: Dog Bites

aggressive dog

Dog bites and attacks occur more frequently in the United States than you might realize.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 4.5 million dog bites occur each year. Children ages five to nine were at highest risk for an attack, and most of these bite cases happened by a dog that the child or victim was familiar with – including their pet.

Dogs are supposed to be a human’s closest companion. They are in your home, they sit among your family, and they even snuggle up with your children at night. Sadly, man’s best friend can turn into his worst enemy – and sometimes without warning.

When dog attacks occur, the damage can be catastrophic, especially for small children. Moreso, the costs associated with these types of injuries are much higher than parents or victims might realize.

Understanding the Financial Side of a Dog Attack in Philadelphia

When you think of a dog bite or attack, you know there are emotional and physical injuries to the victim. After all, a dog attack can cause lacerations, broken bones, infection, nerve damage, and permanent disfigurement.

These attacks can also lead to emotional trauma, like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, anxiety, and insomnia.

What you might not realize is the cost of these attacks. These attacks can cost families thousands, especially in medical expenses alone. Consider the medical treatment required for a dog attack, such as the emergency room visit, surgery, hospital stay, and possibly cosmetic surgery.

According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), the cost of dog attack claims are on the rise too. Claims from 2014 to 2015 saw a 15 percent increase and the average cost was over $30,000 per claim. Pennsylvania saw an average of 861 requests per year and the average price of a claim was $26,211.

A Look at the Costs of a Dog Attack

You might wonder why dog attacks would cost so much, primarily if the attacks were not fatal. To fully grasp the costs of these incidents, you must realize the treatments and permanent damage caused by a dog attack.


After a vicious attack, especially from an unknown dog, hospital workers may do a preventative rabies series on the victim. Rabies is not common in the United States; therefore, acquiring the treatments for rabies is extremely expensive. If the dog is found and tests positive for rabies, the victim endures the rabies vaccination series. While the series today is more comfortable than it was in the past, the vaccine and transport of it to the patient costs thousands.

While there are only an estimated 55 cases since 1990, there have been thousands of vaccinations out of precaution in the United States per the CDC. These injections consist of four doses that take up to 14 days to complete.

These vaccines are administered out of an abundance of caution, because once rabies begins to show symptoms, it is too late to cure and can be fatal.

Lacerations and Risk of Infection

A common injury in a dog attack is lacerations. These cuts might require stitches or staples, while others are shallow enough that they can be cleaned and bandaged to heal alone.

Domestic animals, however, have bacteria inside their mouths and that means a high risk for infection after a dog bite. Bites that occur on the fingers and hands take longer to heal, thereby increasing the risk of a severe infection. Multiple bites can also increase that risk, and the victim could develop a severe and life-threatening disease if not treated quickly.

Antibiotics are typically given in dog attack cases out of precaution, but even with medicines and proper wound care, the infection might continue to spread depending on the bacteria in the animal’s mouth.

The cost of these infection and post-infection treatments are extensive – especially when those costs are combined with the emergency room visit and cost of receiving stitches.

Orthopedic Surgeries and Bone Fractures

A common injury from a dog attack is a bone fracture, especially with dog breeds like Pit Bulls. Bone breaks are painful, and depending on the severity, these breaks might require orthopedic surgery to correct them and ensure they heal properly.

Orthopedic surgery itself is expensive. Furthermore, the victim might require multiple appointments with an orthopedist and physical therapy to fully recover from their injury.

Reconstructive Surgery

A severe dog attack could leave a victim mauled, especially small children who are bit in the face. To correct the damage, a plastic surgeon reconstructs the face to reduce the appearance of scars and help return the victim’s face to its pre-attack presence (as much as possible).

Reconstructive cosmetic procedures are costly, and they are rarely done in a single surgery. Instead, multiple surgeries are required to correct the damage of a vicious dog attack, which means many thousands in hospital costs.

Emotional Trauma

The victim is likely to suffer from a variety of psychological injuries too, including anxiety, depression, and insomnia. This could require medication and years of therapy to overcome – with some victims never fully recovering.

It All Adds Up

All these costs eventually add up to thousands. A victim might never be the same again, be in constant fear of an animal, be unable to work, or be left permanently disfigured. Therefore, /lawsuits-litigation/dog attacks can yield settlements in the hundreds of thousands to millions – depending on the case.

Speak with a Dog Attack Attorney in Philadelphia Today

If a dog viciously attacked you or a loved one, you have the right to hold the owner accountable for those injuries.

To do that, you need an attorney that has experience in dog attack cases. Meet with attorney Jeffrey H. Penneys, Esq. by calling his cell at 215-771-0430, toll-free at 800-465-8795, or at the office directly at 215-987-3550. You can also request more information about dog attack lawsuits or schedule your consultation by filling out the online contact form.