Pit Bull Attacks, Lawsuits and Lawyers
Do “pit bulls” pose a danger to humans, or is this dog breed misunderstood? This question is at the center of a contentious debate that continues to swirl and rage in communities across the nation. Those that support “pit bull bans” or special ordinances regulating the ownership of pit bulls point to statistics showing that the breed is responsible for a large percentage of the number of fatal dog bites and dog attack incidents each year. Those who support pit bull ownership claim that pit bulls are gentle and loving toward their families and thus make an excellent choice for families looking for protection. What these two sides agree upon, however, is this: Pit bulls can inflict catastrophic – even fatal – injuries with incredible speed and force.
What is a Pit Bull and How Does It Attack?
Specifically speaking, a North American “pit bull” is a dog that belongs to the American Pit Bull Terrier, American Staffordshire Terrier, American Bully, or Staffordshire Bull Terrier breed (in whole or in part). However, the term “pit bull” is often used more loosely to describe dogs that have a “bulky” body and/or a square-shaped head. These breeds were originally created in order to fight other dogs and large animals as well as to herd other large animals.
Due to the fact that the breed was originally created to fight other animals, one of the predominant characteristics of pit bulls and how they attack other animals and humans is the breed’s tendency to latch onto the neck of its victim and continue to bite the neck until the victim is dead or the dog is driven off. Although the dog’s jaws do not “lock,” it can be extremely difficult to get a pit bull to release its grip on its victim’s neck.
Are Pit Bulls More Likely to Attack Than Other Breeds?
Statistics regarding pit bull attacks in America are readily available. According to DogsBite.org, pit bulls:
- Killed one person every 17 days during the period between 2005 and 2015 – a total of 232 victims. Twenty-eight percent of these victims are children between the ages of zero and two years.
- By 2018, it is estimated that pit bulls will cause the death of 338 Americans.
- During the period of 2005 to 2015, pit bulls and/or rottweilers were involved in three out of every four fatal dog attack incidents.
- In 2015 alone, pit bulls accounted for over 80 percent of all reported fatal dog attack incidents. Pit bulls and rottweilers together accounted for just over 90 percent of all reported fatal dog attacks.
- A significant number of pit bull attack victims are either the owner of the dog, a family member related to the owner of the dog, or were familiar with and known to the dog in some other manner.
While these statistics do not indicate that every pit bull or mixed breed dog will attack a person, they do tend to indicate that pit bulls present a risk of serious or fatal harm to others.
Compensable Losses Attributable to Pit Bull Attacks
The owner of a pit bull that attacks you or your loved one may be responsible under your state’s laws for the injuries the dog causes. If your loved one perishes as the result of the attack, this compensation can include the decedent’s final medical expenses, pain and suffering, funeral and burial expenses, lost past and future wages, and loss of consortium (amongst other losses). If you or your loved one survives the attack, compensation may be available for:
- Past and future medical expenses, including rehabilitative services and/or reconstructive surgeries;
- Prescription drug costs and medical devices necessary to assist the victim in recovering from his or her attack;
- Time missed from work and/or decreased future earning potential;
- Scarring and disfigurement;
- Mental and physical pain and suffering;
- Loss of enjoyment of life; and/or
- Other losses and expenses.
Obtaining compensation following a pit bull attack is possible. A victim’s case for compensation is strengthened when:
- The victim obtains prompt and appropriate medical care, takes prescription drugs as prescribed, and keeps follow-up appointments;
- The victim’s injuries are well-documented through medical records and/or photographs;
- The victim is able to identify the dog and/or the dog’s owner, or is able to identify other witnesses to the attack who can identify the dog and/or its owner; and
- The victim pursues a claim of compensation as soon as practical after the attack has occurred.
Attorney Ken Stern is familiar with the damage and harm that a pit bull can cause, and he is committed to walking victims and/or their families through the recovery process. He is passionate about holding dog owners who breed and/or keep “dangerous breeds” like pit bulls responsible for the harm their dogs cause. Attorney Ken Stern will investigate all laws applicable to your case, including any local ordinances passed, that may tend to create liability for the dog’s owner. Call Stern Law, PLLC if you or your loved one has been attacked by a pit bull at (844) 808-7529.