There are 70 million dogs in the United States. Most of these dogs are gentle and never hurt anyone, but some dogs do attack and bite people. With so many dogs in the country, it’s inevitable that there will be many victims of dog bites, but the actual numbers are staggering: More than 4.7 million people are bitten by dogs every year in the United States.

Many dog bites cause serious medical problems. A study by the United States Centers for Disease Control (CDC) found that nearly 800,000 people had to get medical attention for dog bites every year. Sadly, 31,000 of those who are bitten each year need reconstructive surgery, which can be a long, painful, and expensive ordeal.

Dog bites disproportionately affect children. Half of all dog attacks are on children under the age of 12. Surprisingly, these attacks usually involve dogs that the children already knew, and the attacks occur when the children are engaged in ordinary, everyday activities. Children who are victims of dog attacks are often seriously injured. CDC studies show that children under the age of 15 account for an astonishing 82 percent of emergency-room visits for dog bites.

Dog bites are not only painful for the victim, but they can also be expensive for the owners of the attacking dogs. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), in 2011, dog-bite claims against homeowners’ liability insurance cost almost $479 million, which the AVMA points out is equal to the cost of the Pittsburgh Pirates major league baseball team. The average payment to dog-bite victims was almost $30,000.

If you or your child were bitten by a dog in Florida, you should consult an Orlando personal injury attorney to find out what your options may be for financial compensation.