Fatal Dog Attack Dog bite-related fatalities are on the rise. Dog attacks now kill more people than tornadoes and hurricanes combined. While it’s true that dogs aren’t inherently dangerous, they can become so if not properly trained or socialized from a young age.

Are you the victim of a dog bite, or did you lose a loved one in a fatal dog attack? At Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, LLC, our personal injury attorneys help innocent victims harmed in animal attacks and can help your family too.

Call a Chicago dog bite lawyer at (888) 424-5757 (toll-free phone number) or use the contact form today to schedule a free consultation. All confidential or sensitive information you share with our legal team remains private through an attorney-client relationship.

Dog Bite-Related Fatalities

According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), about 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs each year. Half of those victims seek medical attention for treatment in emergency room visits. Of those who receive hospitalization, 20–30% require intensive care treatment or surgery.

What’s more, dog bite fatalities have increased in the past few years. In addition to causing severe physical harm and permanent disfigurement, a dog attack can impede your ability to work.

Dog Bite Statistics in the U.S.

According to the CDC and the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), about 1.5% of Americans are bitten by dogs every year. That means that almost 675 people are attacked daily, or roughly 181 people per hour. So when you do the math on this startling statistic, roughly 9200 people are attacked by dogs every week or 632,000 people per year.

When broken down by age group, children are most often the victims of dog attacks, with the highest rate occurring in people younger than ten years old. In addition, an overwhelming majority of these victims are boys (84%).

An even more shocking statistic is that in 2010 alone, more than 27,000 people received medical treatment due to being attacked by dogs.

The Agency for Health Care Research and Quality states that the number of adults and children hospitalized for dog bite injuries is almost doubled in the last 15 years. In addition, the American Society for Reconstructive Microsurgery identified nearly 28,000 reconstructive procedures performed each year to repair dog bite-related injuries.

State Farm and the Insurance Information Institute recognize that dog bites are involved in approximately one-third of all insurance liability claim dollars they payout annually, based on 2018 dog bite statistics. Additionally, data reveals that approximately 75% of all dog bite attacks happen on the dog owner’s property.

Dispelling the Myth of “Good” Dogs

Dog lovers often use the myth that a dog is a man’s best friend to deflect blame for serious injuries caused by canines. However, this false narrative does little to help innocent dog bite victims hurt or killed in a dog attack.

Studies show that while dogs are bred for certain characteristics, any animal can snap at any time due to a host of factors. In this regard, the purebred nature of the dog has little to do with what causes them to become dangerous predators. It is estimated that about half of all dog bites are from mixed breeds, especially breeds mixed with pit bulls.

Another myth about dog attacks is that a large, muscular dog breed is more dangerous than a smaller, less physical canine. However, dog bite statistics show no correlation between the size of a dog and its propensity to attack. And when it comes to dog bite fatalities, even toy dogs have been responsible for the death of a child.

The one trait to which all dogs are predisposed is their predatory nature. Dogs are descended from wolves and share many similar traits with these wild animals, including teeth designed for killing prey. Pit bulls are one example of somewhat dangerous breeds.

What’s more, just because a dog was trained by its owner does not mean that it has lost any predatory or territorial instincts. The only way to truly know how a dog will react in any given situation is to study its behavior, not through hearsay or anecdotes.

Pit Bull Fatal Bite Statistics

According to dogsbite.org, pit bulls are responsible for the highest number of dog bite fatalities, representing over one-third of dog bite deaths. Siberian huskies are another type of deadly dog that has attacked individuals to the point of death, especially children.

Some dogs specifically bred for fighting have been known to attack people in certain situations. While these dogs are often trained to be more aggressive toward people, they will only attack if they feel threatened or if their owner is in danger.

A 2015 study conducted by the American Veterinary Medical Association that looked at dog bite fatalities from 2000-2009 found that pit bulls were responsible for 65 percent of these attacks. The data also reveals that older children and adults are more likely to be victims of a fatal attack by pit bulls.

While the number of dog bite fatalities has declined over the years, this still means that about 360 people in the U.S. die annually because of an unprovoked canine attack. In addition, dog bite fatalities have not decreased as steadily as other types of dog attacks, such as dog bites requiring medical treatment.

Pit Bull Attacks Children

A 2005 study by the AVMA showed that children are most likely to be attacked by a family dog that is not a pit bull. In addition, pit bulls accounted for only about 25 percent of all fatal attacks. In comparison, dogs identified as mixed breeds were involved in over 30 percent of fatal attacks and accounted for over 40 percent of all dogs involved in the 238 dog bite fatalities between 2000 and 2009.

Children’s deaths by aggressive dogs commonly involve family dogs that turn on an infant or very young child for reasons that often are unknown. When it comes to pit bulls, dog bite fatalities involve other breeds mixed with the pit bull, not purebred pit bulls.

Dog Bite Force

The force of a dog’s jaw during an attack can be very high, depending on the breed of the dog. For example, a pit bull’s bite force can reach 1,235 pounds per square inch (psi), one of the highest recorded bites in history. On the other hand, a human has about 60 psi of a dog’s bite force.

It is estimated that most dogs have over 300 million olfactory receptors in their noses, and some breeds may have twice that number. As such, the sense of smell is very important to dogs, and they can often pick up scents from far away.

Dogs may also attack if they feel cornered or threatened in any way. That is why it’s so important for parents to remain aware of their surroundings at all times and keep their pets leashed when in public.

Dog Bite-Related Resources

Owners often get distracted when their pets become aggressive and attack innocent bystanders or family members. Parents need to know that the best way to protect children from a dog attack, especially in the case of pit bulls, is to never leave a child alone with the dog.

Suppose the dog has shown any signs of aggression toward a family member. In that case, it is best to get rid of the pet immediately because children are often unable to escape during an attack and cannot fend off a large animal.

How to Identify Dog Aggression

According to American Humane, there are several behaviors of dogs that are associated with aggression, including the following:

  • Licking his lips
  • Growling or barking
  • Meeting your eyes with a steady gaze
  • Tensing of the body or standing very still

If you find yourself being threatened by a strange dog, especially one that looks like it may be part of a fighting breed, the best course of action is to stay still or back away slowly, avoiding any sudden movements.

You should call for help and report the incident to your local animal control office if you find yourself being attacked by a dog. In this case, it’s much safer to let the authorities handle the situation than confront an aggressive dog on your own.

Death by Dog Bite From Other Breeds

While pit bulls can be very dangerous, other dangerous dogs can be deadly. According to dogsbite.org, in the past 34 years, pit bulls and rottweilers have killed 284 and 64 individuals, respectively.

The following is a list of domesticated but dangerous dog breeds that have been involved in fatal bites:

  • Akita
  • Boxer
  • Chow
  • Siberian Husky
  • Alaskan Malamute
  • Doberman Pinscher
  • St Bernard
  • American Bulldog
  • German Shepherd
  • Great Dane
  • Pitbull terrier
  • Wolf Hybrid

Although certain breeds can be deadly, these statistics indicate that any canine breed, including docile golden retrievers, can inflict great damage on the human population. With this in mind, it is up to owners to make sure their dogs cannot harm others by keeping them on a leash or behind secure gates.

Why Parents Need to Be Vigilant

Parents need to understand that children are at the highest risk of being attacked by dogs. Children often make loud noises and move erratically, causing dogs to become startled and defensive.

More often than not, fatal dog attacks on children result in serious head or neck injuries such as bite marks and lacerations caused by the canine’s teeth. While many parents think it is cute for their kids to play with dogs, they should never leave children alone with a dog regardless of how docile the animal may be.

What’s more, even if a dog has never shown any signs of aggression towards its owner or other people, it can lash out unexpectedly when protecting its territory. The CDC reports that over half of all fatal dog attacks result from a family pet turning on one of its family members.

When a dog bites a child, parents need to seek medical attention immediately. If the wound isn’t treated right away, serious infections can result from the bacteria in a dog’s mouth – even if the canine’s teeth appear to be clean.

In addition to their medical duties, veterinarians can provide valuable information about any previous or unusual behavior a dog may have exhibited before an attack. In this way, the victim’s family can use information about former aggression to claim the dog owner or even press criminal charges if negligence is involved.

In many cases, owners of dogs who have been deemed dangerous sometimes try to deal with the injured party outside of court to avoid a full lawsuit. However, injured parties need to understand that they give up their right to hold the dog owner accountable through the legal system by accepting compensation.

The Role of Dog Breeders and Trainers

Dog breeders and trainers can also be held responsible for injuries resulting from a dog attack. This type of liability stems from the idea that dog owners should control their animals not to act aggressively, no matter the circumstances.

When an animal trainer fails to take proper precautions with training out-of-control dogs, the owner may be held liable for any injuries that result. Likewise, when breeders carelessly allow aggressive traits to show through in their dogs, they can be held responsible for the injuries their animals inflict on others.

What’s more, this type of liability extends to anyone in charge of a dog when it causes injury. So, for example, if a dog escapes from an animal trainer’s care and bites someone, that person can file suit against the nearby dog owner as well.

Who Is Held Liable for Dog Bite-Related Fatalities?

In most fatal dog attacks, the owner of the animal is held liable. It makes sense, considering that it is their job to properly take care of and control their canine companions.

However, even owners who have never been able to socialize or train their dogs successfully can be held responsible for a dog bite or attack. In these cases, the injured party must prove that the dog never acted aggressively to people before and would not have done so without being provoked.

Although it is up to a judge or jury to determine whether a defendant should be held liable for injuries caused by their dog, certain actions can lead to criminal charges. For instance, if someone knew that their dog was likely to act aggressively and still did nothing to prevent the attack, they may be fined or imprisoned for negligence.

On the other hand, negligence resulting in an attack is not always a crime. Depending on the circumstances of the case, it can lead to civil liability instead. When courts can issue a ruling based on negligence, they can find dog owners liable for any medical costs incurred by the victim and their pain and suffering.

In some cases involving fatal dog attacks, criminal charges are more appropriate. Depending on state laws, reckless conduct or even murder may result if there is proof that an owner decided to act in a way that could result in injury or death to another person.

Although these criminal charges are rare when dealing with dog bites, they occasionally occur when fatal attacks occur. Sometimes, even if the evidence suggests an owner was not responsible for their animal’s action, they may be criminally charged anyway because of what happened.

Hiring a Fatal Dog Attack Lawyer to Resolve a Compensation Claim

Do you lose a loved one in a fatal dog attack, or does an out-of-control dog injure you? You can file a claim to recover compensation for your losses, but you must hire the right legal team to support your case.

At Rosenfeld Injury Lawyer, LLC, we can help the victims of fatal dog attacks seek compensation for their injuries. Call (888) 424-5757 today or use the contact form to schedule a free consultation.

Our personal injury law firm accepts all personal injury cases and wrongful death lawsuits on a contingency basis. The promise ensures you pay no upfront fees until your case is resolved through a negotiated settlement or jury verdict.

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