Dog Bites Give Rise to Thousands of Personal Injury Claims Each Year

Dog bites give rise to thousands of personal injury claims each year, some involving very serious personal injury and even death.  According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, 1000 Americans per day sustain a serious dog bite injury requiring emergency room treatment.

According to published studies and data compiled and reported by www.dogbite.org and www.dogbreeds.com , the five breeds logging the most reported dog bites are in order: 1) Pit Bull; 2) Rottweiler; 3) German Shephard, 4) Siberian Husky; and 5) Akita.  According to the site, Pit Bulls and Pit Bull mix dogs alone were responsible for a reported 3595 serious personal injuries and 295 deaths resulting from dog bites and dog attacks from 2002 to 2015.

Pit Bulls and Pit Bull Mix Dogs Account for the Majority of Personal Injuries and Deaths

In 2015, Pit Bulls accounted for 28 of the 34 reported fatalities from dog bites and Rottweilers accounted for 3 of the 34 reported fatalities.  Together, in 2015 these two breeds caused 91% of dog bite fatalities in the United States.  For more detailed statistics to http://www.dogsbite.org/dog-bite-statistics.php .

Dog Bites

Pit Bull Snarling

Pit Bull Bans and Regulations

Because of these statistics and the Pit Bull breed’s reputation for aggressive behavior, some cities such as Denver, Colorado and Council Bluffs, Iowa have passed city ordinances banning Pit Bulls.  After passing the ban Council Bluffs kept statistics which reflected a dramatic drop in Pit Bull dog bites, from 29 attacks in 2004 before the ban was passed, down to 0 or 1 attack in most years since the ban was enacted. Rather than an all-out ban of Pit Bulls, some cities have instead passed ordinances imposing special requirement for Pit Bull owners.  As of this writing, over 900 U.S. Cities have passed laws regulating or banning Pit Bulls.  (Click here for a listing of cities that ban or regulate Pit Bulls https://www.scribd.com/doc/56495216/Estimated-U-S-Cities-Counties-States-and-Military-Facilities-with-Breed-Specific-Pit-Bull-Laws ).

Criminal Laws Regulating Dog Owners

Instead of breed-specific laws, some states, like Texas, have passed criminal statutes imposing serious criminal penalties on owners of dangerous dogs who attack causing serious personal injury or death.  In 2007, as the result of the mutilation death of 76 year old Lillian Stiles at the hand of a pack of Pit Bull –Rottweiler mix dogs, the Texas legislature passed what has become known as Lillian’s law.  Upon learning that there were no criminal penalties in place for dog owners whose dogs maim or kill, Lillian’s family formed a group, Texas Families Against Dangerous Dogs, which rallied for the passage of House Bill 1355 (now codified as Section 822 of the Texas Health and Safety Code http://www.statutes.legis.state.tx.us/Docs/HS/htm/HS.822.htm ), which became known as Lillian’s law.  The law imposes the stiffest criminal penalties in the land for dog owners who know or should know that their dogs are dangerous, but fail to keep their dogs secured.  A criminally negligent dog owner can charged with either a second or third degree felony depending upon whether the attack results in the death of the victim and upon conviction can receive up to 20 years and up to a $10,000 fine in the case of a fatality and 10 years in the case of serious personal injury.

Victims of Dog Bites Can Often Recover for Their Personal Injuries from Dog Owner’s Homeowners Insurance Policy

In addition to criminal penalties, owners of dogs that bite and cause personal injuries can be held liable for the actions of their dogs.  In the case of a private homeowner, in many cases the dog owner’s homeowner insurance policy will cover will provide money for any claims made by the victim against the owner of the dog.   Victims of dog bites can incur substantial medical bills and may even require expensive plastic surgery to repair attacks air the injuries.  In many cases, these expenses may be covered by the dog owner’s insurance policy and the victim therefore may be able to recover money to pay these expenses by making a claim against the other party and their insurance carrier.

If you or someone you love has been the victim of a dog bite or attack, the lawyers at J. Thomas Law Firm may be able to help.  Call Jason Thomas at 817-442-2410 or click here to request your free case review.   Jason has over 20 years of deep legal experience handling personal injury cases, including dog bite cases, and have each tried over 100 cases successfully to a jury.  We provide competent, compassionate representation throughout the Dallas Fort Worth Metroplex area.