Every year, more than 4.7 million people across the country are attacked by a dog. Of those attacks, almost 800,000 bites are serious enough to require medical attention. Nearly 368,000 victims of dog attacks — almost 50% — end up in the emergency room every year.
Owners of dogs, regardless of the breed of dog, can be held responsible when their dog bites or attacks someone.
Why Dogs Attack
Most victims of dog attacks who receive medical attention are children. For children, getting bitten by a dog is the fifth most-frequent cause of visits to emergency rooms. The next class of victims most likely to be attacked are senior citizens. When dogs do go on the attack, they more often than not choose to bite their victim’s face.
The following list identifies some of the more common reasons a dog will choose to attack:
- Dominance aggression: Aggressive behavior usually directed to family members who take something from the dog, pet it, hold it, pick it up or disturb it while resting.
- Defensive or fear aggression: Directed to family or strangers who approach too quickly or too closely when the dog is afraid.
- Protective/territorial aggression: Directed to strangers to approach the owner or the home of the owner.
- Predatory aggression: Directed to small, quickly moving animals and children, especially where more than one dog is involved.
- Pain-elicited aggression: Directed to family or strangers who approach or touch when the dog is in pain or injured.
- Punishment-elicited aggression: Directed to family or strangers who hit, kick or verbally assault the dog.
- Redirected aggression: Directed to family, strangers and animals who approach or touch the dog when it is aggressive in another context.
The Rights of Dog Bite Victims
Your legal options often depend upon either the dog’s history and/or the leash laws applicable in the county or city where the dog attack occurred. Variations in the leash laws for dogs can have a significant impact on your potential legal remedies.
Injuries from dog bites are frequently covered by homeowner’s insurance coverage. That coverage should help pay you for your bills and your pain and suffering. When a person is injured by a dog bite, it generally takes months to completely assess the person’s injuries. Reconstructive surgery may be necessary, and the injuries may leave the person permanently disabled even after corrective surgery. Therefore, the true value of a claim can only be assessed after a doctor has met with the victim and determined the best course of treatment.
A dog attack can result in devastating damage. Our experienced trial lawyers have helped represent many dog bite victims. Contact Childers, Schlueter & Smith, LLC to get answers to any questions you may have. Case evaluations are always free and without obligation.