There is an old saying that goes something like this: “There are no bad dogs, only bad dog owners.” Under state and federal personal injury law, this statement is a true and accurate statement. Dog bites owners can be held responsible for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and emotional injuries experienced by dog bite victims.
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
- Infections – including rabies, cellulitis, and more
- Emotional distress
- Post-traumatic stress
- Social embarrassment due to scaring
- Crush injuries
- Fractured bones
Facts about dog bites
Reports show that almost 1 Million dog bits occur every year in the United States. In most cases, the injuries sustained during these accidents are severe enough to require medical treatment. While the vast majority of dog bits incidents are non-fatal, more than half involve children 13 years old and younger.
Unfortunately, every dog is capable of inflicting serious injury – especially upon children. In fact, dog bits are NOT LIMITED to the so-called “aggressive breads” such as the Rottweiler or Pit Bulls. In fact, a recent survey of more than 6,000 dog owners found that Pit Bulls and Rottweilers are actually “average to below average” in their aggression. Small dogs tended to be more prone to biting, although the injuries sustained by these smaller dogs were often less serious. Obedience training is the best solutions for dog owners 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 common caused by:
- Domination aggression - victims of this category of accidents are most the dog’s owners or family members; they are often associated with moving a dog off a bed or furniture, attempting to train or discipline a dog, stepping over a resting dog, and more.
- Territorial aggression – territorial aggression is most often associated with males when they are guarding their herd or family. Breeds including the German Shepherds, Labrador Retrievers, and Rottweiler breeds are among the large dogs found to exhibit this tendency, but they are not the only breeds to do so. Female dogs, more so than male dogs, display a ferocious posture that if not recognized by small children results in punishing bites to hands and faces.
- Protection of valuables - protection of property and families 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. Many Veterinarians discover this truth early in their careers. Similar to their human owners, dogs are naturally fearful of unfamiliar and threatening people and situations. In the same vein, a dog raised in a calm, adult household may become afraid by loud noises, or sudden movements by children. In many 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 or child in attempt to get the stranger to heed the audible warning.
- Maternal aggression - a female dog who has delivered pups (within the first two to three weeks) are often most prone to exhibit this type of aggression, which may be accompanied by fear or territorialism. Female dogs instinctively recognize that her puppies are dependent upon her for food, protection, and survival. 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 - people, especially children, should never attempt to break up a dogfight. This scenario is the most common reason cited by victims of dog bite injuries. Dogfights are best broken up by loud noises or strong blasts of water. On the other hand, if this fails and you feel that you must intervene, keep your body as far away from the mouth as possible and move quickly and decisively.
- Pain-induced aggression - animals in general are more aggressive when they are hurt or injured. This is true even with domesticated dogs. The most common breeds responsible for injuries in this category include small dogs like Chihuahuas. 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 - last but not least, many dog bite injuries do not fall in any of the afore mentioned 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 the face of a dog, putting socks on a dog’s nose, trying to ride a dog like a pony, or attempting to confine a dog in a pillowcase can result in an otherwise avoidable bite injury.
We can help if you have been injured by a dog, or if you are the owner of a dog that has bitten someone.
Our dog bites attorneys have the knowledge and experience needed to help you pursue the compensation you deserve when a negligent dog owner resulted in your injuries. On the other hand, we can advise you to the best course of action if you are accused of negligence that led to a person being injured. Our skilled personal injury attorneys will conduct a thorough investigation into the events leading to the dog bite injuries 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 know to be harmful or dangerous
On your behalf, we will pursue a settlement that addresses not only your existing losses; however, 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.
Contact our office online or call 1-888-571-2525 to schedule a free consultation to discuss your specific concerns with one of our experienced SC dog bites lawyers.