Concord Dog Bite Lawyer
Dogs may traditionally be thought of as "man's best friend," but not all dogs may be aware of this. Some dogs are poorly trained by their owners or may have been abusively trained as fighting animals -- these can turn into problematic, aggressive animals. But even the sweetest pooch can have a bad day and bite someone if the dog is ill or injured or if they perceive a dangerous threat to their family members or themselves from strangers. When a dog bite occurs, a Concord dog bite lawyer, such as one of the attorneys at our office, can help injury victims receive appropriate and just compensation for the injuries that can result from a dog bite.Dog Bite Statistics
Unfortunately, dog bites are a very common occurrence. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 4.5 million people or more are bitten each year by dogs, with nearly a million receiving medical attention for those bites and roughly 10,000 each year requiring hospitalization of severe injuries.
While any dog can bite -- any breed, any size, any "temperament" -- there are hard facts to associate greater numbers of bites with certain breeds. One study reviewed 433 fatal dog attacks on humans from 2005 through 2017 in the United States and the dog breed associated with each attack. Almost two-thirds of the deadly attacks -- a total of 65.6% -- were associated with pit bull breeds, with the second most frequent breed being Rottweiler at 10.4%. All other breeds were in single-digit percentages or less. The most frequent were:
- Pit bull - 65.6%
- Rottweiler - 10.4%
- German shepherd - 4.6%
- Mixed-breed - 3.9%
- American bulldog - 3.5%
- Masstiff - 3.2%
- Husky - 3%
Victims of dog bites are far more likely to be children than adults. Roughly half of all fatality victims are under 10 years of age, with about a quarter of all fatalities in infants and toddlers.
Dog bite injuries include:
- Lacerations and avulsions, in which the skin and superficial tissues are cut and torn.
- Punctures, typical "bite marks" in which a dog's teeth bite directly through the skin.
- Crush damage, where the typically powerful jaw muscles of the dog cause injuries to the tissues beneath the skin.
- Fracture injuries, especially to finger and hand bones, and heavier bones of the arms and legs where the bite is from a large dog or where the dog attack has pushed the victim to the ground or into hard objects.
Infections are common in dog bites, as they are in bite injuries from any type of animal. The first concern is rabies, which is invariably fatal if untreated. Most domestic dogs are vaccinated against rabies, but verification of the status of vaccination and careful observation of the animal are crucial, and a victim may receive a vaccine as a precaution. Other infections are typically bacterial and can prove very serious if not promptly and properly treated.Prevention
There are many reasons why a dog may bite someone. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), this can include:
- Being startled or scared.
- Biting to defend territory or itself if stressed.
- Biting to protect something valuable, like their food.
- Illness or injury that may have the dog feeling bad.
- Unintentional bites or nips, such as during play.
The AVMA has several recommendations for preventing dog bites and other dog attacks. As a pet owner, this includes:
- Neutering or spaying your dog -- neutered animals are generally less likely to bite or have aggressive behavioral problems.
- Socializing your dog, especially when it is young, accustom it to being around other people and animals.
- Using a leash in public -- whether to control a dog that may be aggressive or one that may just be overly excited and friendly toward people and other dogs who don't want to be approached.
Dog bite prevention also involves educating people, especially children, about when not to interact with dogs. This can include:
- Dogs who are eating, sleeping, injured, or sick.
- Dogs who are either not with their owner or with someone who does not give permission to pet the animal.
- Dogs who are displaying negative emotions like growling, barking, or hiding.
- Mother dogs who are being protective of their puppies.
Most personal injury claims related to dog bites and other dog attacks will be submitted under the personal liability coverages for the homeowners or renters insurance policy of the animal's owner. According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), on the order of 15,000 to 20,000 claims are submitted annually related to dog attacks, comprising more than one-third of all homeowners liability claims dollars that are paid out, with the total payments on these claims being the better part of a billion dollars per year. The III estimates slightly over 2,000 claims in California alone for 2021, with an average cost per claim to the insurer of $59,561.
When a personal injury attorney is consulted on a dog bite injury case, the initial investigation will be focused on determining the facts of the attack, who owned the dog and whether they have liability insurance, and the injuries and other damages sustained by the victim. Establishing liability for a dog bite injury can often be easier than for other types of personal injury claims because California law establishes a presumption of responsibility for dog bites in certain situations. This "strict liability" presumption under Civil Code Section 3342 does not require that negligence on the part of the dog owner be proven, merely that:
- The bite occurred in a "public place," such as a public street or park; or
- In a "private place," including on the dog owner's property, if the victim was lawfully on that property.
Negligence can also be a factor, such as involving a dog with a prior history of attacks, situations where a dog was not properly restrained or allowed to roam, etc. An experienced personal injury lawyer will have the skills and resources necessary to investigate dog bite incidents and pursue insurance claims or courtroom litigation on behalf of their clients to a successful resolution.
View this video with tips from a professional trainer about how to socialize and expose your young dog to new experiences to improve their life-long interactions with other people and animals:Dog Bite Lawyers in Concord, CA
Hello, my name is Ed Smith, and I am a Concord Dog Bite Lawyer. In a perfect world, every dog owner would properly raise, train, and control their animals, and every dog would be perfectly sweet-natured and gentle to every human who came around. Unfortunately, we don't live in that world, and dog bite attacks do happen – sometimes with serious, even fatal injuries. When this occurs, an experienced injury attorney can greatly assist a dog bite victim or their family in regaining compensation for their losses from negligent dog owners and their insurance companies. If you or someone in your family has been seriously harmed due to a dog bite or other types of dog attack, please contact us today at (925) 428-5220 or (800) 404-5400 for free and friendly advice. You can also reach us with a submission to our online contact form.
Image by Sonja Kalee from Pixabay
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