Walk through your neighborhood, visit any dog park or any large public area, and you’re bound to encounter a friendly dog – someone’s 4-legged, furry friend.
Chances are, you’re a dog owner yourself, and enjoy spending time playing and loving your pet – your dog is a big part of your family, and provides countless hours of fun and invaluable companionship.
Most dogs are pretty friendly and rarely, if ever, bite anyone.
However, bites do happen, whether they’re from a relatively docile breed or from some of the more notorious breeds like pit bulls. These bites can cause a range of injuries, even death if severe enough.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, over 4 million dog bites happen in the U.S. each year – 800,000 of those require medical treatment, which includes visits to the emergency room. Another report from MSNBC explains how dog bites resulted in an astounding $479 million worth of insurance payouts in 2011.
The average dog bite claim on homeowner insurance policies run over $29,000 according to the Insurance Information Institute.
If you’re bitten by someone’s dog, you do have grounds for a personal injury or premises liability claim for your medical expenses, lost wages, etc.
Often times, bites from dogs can be very damaging, even fatal in some cases. On occasion, we’ll get tragic news of a small child being mauled by an out of control dog.
Instances like these are the most common amongst pit bulls, Rottweilers and other large breeds – according to DogBites.org, pit bulls and Rottweilers accounted for a combined 73% of fatalities from dog attacks from 2006-2008.
Prevalence of these types of incidents among pit bulls and other breeds has led to some dramatic changes in the last few years – both among homeowners’ insurance policies, and local/state ordinances. Maryland in fact is considering a statewide ban on pit bulls, or what’s also known as “breed-specific” legislation.
Numerous locales across the country, including Denver, Lakewood, Aurora, Castle Rock and a few other towns in Colorado, have either banned or severely restrict ownership of pit bulls. State and federal courts have upheld these “breed-specific” laws.
In terms of a personal injury claim, these laws relieve you, the claimant, of the burden of proving the dog is a danger. Laws in these Colorado municipalities and many other locales across the U.S. claim these dogs are dangerous by default.
Regardless of any ordinances though, you should discuss your case with a Denver premises liability attorney if you or your child has been injured by someone else’s dog. Pet and property owners have a legal responsibility to ensure their premises are safe for not only visitors, but anyone passing by on the street, etc.
Dog bites can be serious – your first priority should be attending to the injury. But if it’s serious enough to require extensive treatment, or was fatal to your loved one, know that you likely have grounds to obtain compensation for your costs, pain and suffering, etc.