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Are dogs mans best friend? Who is liable when a dog attacks?

Posted by David Nemeroff | Nov 26, 2011 | 0 Comments

Are dogs really man's best friend? Thousands of Americans are bitten or attacked by dogs every year. According to the Centers for Disease Control, over 2% of American citizens, or approximately 5 million people, are attack by dogs each year. Dog bite attacks result in over 15 fatalities annually.

A dog bite is one personal injury that can result in extreme suffering. Dog attack and dog bite victims suffer unnecessary pain because someone else was negligent in maintaining adequate control of their dog. Injuries that can be caused by dog bites are:

  • Scarring, lacerations and Disfigurement
  • Nerve damage
  • Broken bones
  • Infections

As a Chicago injury lawyer, I found the results of the Insurance Information Institute report of interest. It was reported that there has been a significant rise in dog-bite insurance claims over the past ten years. This brought several questions to my mind. Is the increased number of dog attacks due to the increased number of pet owners? Or is it due to the negligent behavior by pet owners? One has to wonder?

The Insurance Information Institute reported in 2009, the number of dog bite insurance claims totaled an amount in excess of 400 million dollars. The average dog bite claim cost the insurance company over $24,000. Dog bite liability claims account for over a third of all home owner's liability insurance claims. This represents a 30% increase in the last six years. The majority of dog bite attacks are a result of an animal known to the victim. They are often pets of a family member or friend.

As a Chicago injury lawyer, I know that it is difficult for victims to file a legal claim against a friend or family member. Many are troubled about suing a friend or family member. What they don't realize is that when you file a dog bite legal claim you will file the claim against the pet owner's insurance company not the actual pet owner. The legal claim is against the insurance company that provides renters or homeowner's coverage to the pet or dog owner.

According to attorney Nemeroff, pet owners are responsible when dog attacks or bites or dog attacks occur. Pet owners are expected to maintain adequate and appropriate control of their pet or animal at all times. Pet owners are held responsible when a pet behavior results in an injury to another person. According to Illinois law, when a dog or animal attacks and injures another person, it is not necessary to show proof that the animal has acted aggressively or attacked before.

Dog bite attacks represent some of the most horrific personal injuries that are suffered. Children are among one of the groups with the most dog bite injuries per year according to the Institute Report. This is due to a child's lack of judgment about how to behave around a dog. It never amazes me, when I see a child run up to a strange dog? They immediately touch the dog, without knowing what the animal's reaction will be.

Parents can follow a few key safety tips that can reduce the probability of a child in your care from being bitten or injured by a dog:

  • Refrain from approaching an unfamiliar dog.
  • Relax and remain calm when approached by an unfamiliar dog.
  • Never disturb a dog that is sleeping or resting.
  • Always ask for permission from the pet owner to approach an unfamiliar dog.
  • Seek prompt medical care for any serious dog bite. Report all dog attacks

If you or a family member has suffered a dog bite attack, it is important that you obtain medical care. Always report the attack immediately. Call your local animal control agency or if you are not sure of the agency, call your humane society or 311, and they should be able to advise you on whom to call.

About the Author

David Nemeroff

In January 2012, David Nemeroff was voted one of the Top 100 Lawyers in the entire state of Illinois (out of 83,000 lawyers) by Super Lawyers Magazine...

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