Dog Bite

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Injury or wrongful death resulted from Dog Bite?

Children are most often the victims of dog bites for several reasons. They are shorter than adults and their faces are closer to a dog’s face. Children often do unexpected things that may frighten a dog. Children lack the awareness of a dog’s propensities and may not naturally protect themselves as an adult might. Children are more likely to stare into the eyes of a dog, which may be interpreted by the dog as a challenge or provocation.

Other common subjects of dog attacks are meter readers and mail carriers who often have to enter a dog owner’s yard or walk to the front door of the house. Many dogs have a natural tendency to protect the homestead and are known to bark at intruders and sometimes launch a full-scale attack.

A dog attack is a frightening event. For centuries, large dogs have been used by the police, military and private individuals and have been known to kill people. Even with small dogs, bites can become infected and can leave ugly scars. Those who have been injured in a dog attack often are left with lifelong fear or apprehension of dogs requiring psychological counseling to deal with such fears and nightmares.


  • 31 U.S. dog bite-related fatalities occurred in 2016. Despite being regulated in Military Housing areas and over 900 U.S. cities, pit bulls contributed to 71% (22) of these deaths. Pit bulls make up about 6% of the total U.S. dog population.
  • Together, pit bulls and rottweilers accounted for 77% of the total recorded deaths in 2016. This same combination also accounted for 76% of all fatal attacks during the 12-year period of 2005 to 2016.
  • From 2005 to 2016, pit bulls killed 254 Americans, about one citizen every 17 days, versus rottweilers, which killed 43, a citizen every 102 days.
  • In 2016, the combination of pit bulls, American bulldogs, and rottweilers contributed to 84% of all dog bite-related fatalities.
  • Labradors and their mixes contributed to 3 deaths in 2016, followed by 6 breeds, each with 2 deaths: American bulldog, Belgian malinois, doberman pinscher, German shepherd, mixed-breed, rottweiler and 2 cases with unreleased breed data.
  • Annual data from 2016 shows that 42% of the fatality victims were children ages 9-years and younger and 58% were adults, ages 30-years and older. Of the total adults killed by canines in 2016, pit bulls were responsible for 67%.
  • In 2016, female victims were greater in number than male victims. Among children ages 9-years and younger, male deaths were greater, 62% vs. 38% and among adults 59-years and older, female deaths outpaced males, 75% vs. 25%.
  • In 2016, infants 3 to 6-days old accounted for 31% of all child deaths. In one case, a pit bull-mix was lying in bed with the baby and its parents when it attacked. The family had adopted the dog 5-months earlier.
  • 42% of all dog bite fatality victims in 2016 were either visiting or living temporarily with the dog's owner when the fatal attack occurred, up from 32% in 2015. Of this subset of 13 fatalities, 77% were inflicted by pit bulls.
  • In 2016, 32% of attacks resulting in death involved a dog or person new to a household (0-2 month period). Children 9-years and younger accounted for 80% of these deaths. Of this subset of 10 fatalities, 70% were inflicted by pit bulls.
  • In 2016, 61% of all fatalities involved more than one dog, up from the 11-year average of 44% (2005 to 2015). 35% of all deaths involved 2 or 3 dogs and 26% involved a pack attack of 4 or more dogs, up from the 11-year average of 14%.
  • 29% of all dog bite fatalities in 2016 involved breeding on the dog owner's property either actively or in the recent past; pit bulls accounted for 67% of these deaths. 3% involved tethered dogs, down from the 11-year average of 10%.
  • Dog ownership information for 2016 shows that non-family dogs inflicted the majority of deaths, 55%. Of this subset, 59%) were inflicted by pit bulls. Conversely, only 19% of attacks resulting in death occurred off the dog owner's property.
  • Family dogs inflicted 45% of all deaths in 2016; family pit bulls accounted for 86% of these deaths, up from an 11-year average of 63%. Of the 22 fatal pit bull attacks, 55% involved a family or household member vs. 45% non-family.
  • In 2016, only 6% of all deadly attacks resulted in meaningful criminal charges; the lowest level on record.

Medical Treatment

It's critical that you visit with a doctor as soon as possible after your dog bite attack. Even if you believe your injuries are minor, it's a good idea to seek treatment in the event that you begin to experience new or worsening symptoms over the days following your dog bite attack. One of the most damaging factors to any dog bite claim is what is known as a "gap in treatment." This occurs when a person waits to seek treatment or fails to show for a doctor's appointment. Without detailed medical records and a consistent treatment history, there will be little to no evidence that supports your injury claim. Simply put, you must follow up with a doctor as soon as possible after a dog bite attack and continue to keep your appointments until you have been released from care.

Insurance Company Goals

The goal of the insurance company is to pay the smallest amount possible to settle your dog bite case. Insurance companies make billions of dollars every year by settling claims as quickly as possible and employing high-priced defense attorneys who make sure their dollars stay out of your hands. Dog bite victims are often pressured into giving recorded statements to the insurance company and signing medical authorization release forms that expose your health history. In both instances, this information is used against you to limit how much they pay for your dog bite attack. (It's also common for the insurance company to use often-heard excuses to deny or limit your claim. The dog bite attack wasn't your fault, and you shouldn't be made to feel guilty.)

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