There is an old saying that goes, “There are no bad dogs, only bad dog owners.” Under state and federal personal injury law, this statement is true and accurate. Dog owners can be held responsible for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and emotional trauma experienced by dog bite victims if their pet was to blame. At Bostic Law Group, P.A., we are experienced in both advising dog owners whose pet has attacked someone as well as representing victims of dog bites.
If you or a loved one has been bitten by a dog, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries, including:
- Sprain / strain injuries
- Nerve damage
- Lost digits
- Tissue loss and avulsion
- Cuts and gashes
- Emotional distress
- Post-traumatic stress
- Social embarrassment due to scaring
- Crush injuries
- Infections—including rabies, cellulitis, and more
- Fractured bones
FACTS ABOUT DOG BITES
Reports show that almost 1 million dog bites occur every year in the United States. In many cases, the injuries sustained during these accidents are severe enough to require medical treatment. While the vast majority of dog bite incidents are non-fatal, more than half involve children 13 years of age and younger.
Unfortunately, every dog is capable of inflicting serious injury—especially upon children. Dog bites are not limited to the so-called “aggressive breads” such as rottweilers and pit bulls. Small dogs tended to be more prone to biting, although the injuries sustained by these smaller dogs are often less serious. Obedience training is the best solutions for any dog owner to avoid dog bite situations.
Most domesticated dogs will never bite anyone. When a dog does act aggressively, animal-experts say that it is most commonly caused by one of the following scenarios:
- Domination aggression—Victims of this category of accident are generally the dog’s owners or family members. Bites are often associated with moving a dog off furniture, attempting to train or discipline a dog, stepping over a resting dog, and more.
- Territorial aggression—This is most often associated with males when they are guarding their herd or family. Female dogs can also display a ferocious posture that, if not recognized by small children or others, can result in punishing bites to hands and faces.
- Protection of valuables—Protection of property is one reason people own dogs. Nevertheless, a dog’s protective instinct can also prove to be a liability. This is especially true when a dog is in a situation where the animal is protecting their own valuables: chew toys, food toys, puppies, a home or car, and small children.
- Fear aggression—Victims of a dog’s fear aggression response is very often directed toward strangers. In most cases, a dog will initially respond by barking and lunging to drive the individual away; if this fails, the dog may then nip the person in an attempt to get the stranger to heed the audible warning.
- Maternal aggression—A female dog who has recently delivered pups is prone to exhibit this type of aggression, which may be accompanied by fear or territorialism. Even a normally docile, sociable, well-trained female dog may show signs of maternal aggression if she feels her newborns—or small children—are in danger. Experts agree that training is of little help in these cases. Instead, owners must be aware of the animal’s innate needs and be proactive to warn guests and visitors.
- Redirected aggression—This can occur when someone attempts to break up a dogfight. This scenario is the most common reason cited by victims of dog bite injuries.
- Pain-induced aggression—Animals in general are more aggressive when they are hurt or injured. This is true even with domesticated dogs. Even normally gentle dogs may bite an owner who is trying to apply medication, bandage a wound, or examine the extent of a pet’s injury.
- Pestered beyond limits—Finally, many dog bite injuries do not fall in any of the aforementioned categories because an insensitive adult or unknowing child will act and continue to act in ways that simply pester the animal. Like humans, even dogs have their limits. Thus, continuing to hug a dog that is exhibiting low growl, repeatedly blowing in their face, or attempting to confine a dog in any way can result in an otherwise avoidable bite injury.
HOW WE CAN HELP
Our dog bite attorneys have the knowledge and experience needed to help you pursue the compensation you deserve when a negligent dog owner contributed to your injuries. Alternatively, we can advise you in the best course of action if you have been accused of negligence. Our skilled dog bite injury attorneys will conduct a thorough investigation into the events leading to the dog bite in an effort to determine negligence and fault.
Negligent behavior includes:
- Allowing the dog roam freely without supervision
- Mistreatment of a dog
- Unrepaired fencing
- Failure to put down dogs known to be harmful or dangerous
On your behalf, we will pursue a settlement that addresses not only your existing losses, but any losses that may occur in the future, including cosmetic surgery to repair scars or disfigurement. If a settlement cannot be reached, we will take your case to court to pursue a judgment for compensation in your favor.