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How common are dog bites in Washington?

While a dog may be man's best friend and may be considered an essential part of one's family, the reality is that they can also be one's worst enemy. More than 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs across the country every year and about 20 percent of those bites require medical attention. Children account for more than half of those events and senior citizens are the second most likely group to be attacked.

According to the Insurance Information Institute, dog bite claims increased by 2.2 percent across the country in 2017, with 18,522 claims being made during the year. The value of claims jumped to more than $686 million. The average cost per claim reached more than $40,000. In Washington, the number of claims also increased between 2016 and 2017. Washington ranks 20th in the country for dog bite claims.

While there are various suggestions for how to keep the number of dog bites down, such as leashing dogs in public spaces and supervising children around dogs, dog bites can still occur. Aside from the personal injuries sustained from an attack by an animal, victims also have to come to terms with the trauma they faced while they were being attacked.

There are various laws in place to protect victims who have been injured in an attack by an animal and to hold animal owners accountable. While legal action may not seem like a possibility at the time, medical costs can add up and strain a person's budget. A civil suit may be one way to put the animal owner on notice about their dangerous animal and recoup medical costs.

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