A DOG BIT ME! DO I HAVE A CASE?

By: Jim DuBach

Being bitten by a dog is a terrifying experience, one that is not only painful but can leave permanent scars which are a reminder of this horrible experience. It is both understandable and appropriate to consider legal action after a loved one has suffered a dog bite.

Our office has successfully represented victims of dog bites many times. Here are the main questions that must be answered to know whether a person who has suffered a dog bite has case in which we can help:

  1. How serious was the bite? Was it a single bite? Were there bites in several different places? Was there significant bleeding? What type of medical care was required?
  2. Who owned the dog? A family member? A stranger? An unknown owner?
  3. Where did the encounter with the dog occur? On a public street? In someone’s apartment, or on the premises of an apartment complex? In a private home, or on the premises of a private home?
  4. Has the dog previously shown vicious tendencies? Has it bitten a person or animal before?
  5. Has the bite, or bites, left permanent scars, or are the bites expected to leave scars? This is often the most important aspect of a dog-bite injury, especially if the scars are to the facial area.
  6. Does the owner of the dog, or the owner of the premises where the attack occurred, have insurance?

The question about insurance is very important, and sometimes a lawsuit must be filed to determine whether insurance coverage is available. Unfortunately, in many cases there is no insurance available and as a result it is unwise to proceed with a claim because it is not only a financial waste of time, but a source of unnecessary emotional stress as it becomes an ongoing reminder of the upsetting attack and injury.

Many insurance companies specifically exclude from coverage particular breeds of dogs that have a proven history of being “biters”. This list includes: Pitbulls, pitbull mixes, Rottweiler, German Shepherd. Pitbulls have the worst statistics: in 2011 they were responsible for 68 deaths! Particularly frightening is the fact that 94% of Pitbull attacks were completely unprovoked, and that they tend to attack young children and small animals. Pitbulls and Rottweilers are banned in many countries due to the number of deaths they have caused.

Owning these dangerous breeds, or being in the presence of these types of dogs, increases the chances of being seriously injured, or sued. Secondly, because insurance policies exclude these dogs, a victim of an attack is less likely to have a successful claim for injuries.

Be sure to contact our office immediately in the event of suffering a dog bite so that important evidence is not lost, decreasing your chances of being compensated for your injuries.