What Victims Need to Know about Dog Bite Cases
22-Mar-2017By Trevor Bradford, Attorney
First, the victim should contact an experienced personal injury attorney to receive credible, reliable advice1 about how to move forward with their case. Trevor A. Bradford of the Rudd Firm has handled numerous dog bite cases over the years with a great deal of success.
Second, you must focus on the individual dog. Here are some factors to consider about the individual dog:
- Behavioral History—Individual behavioral history is very important, as each dog within a breed may not present all of the characteristics commonly attributed to that breed. An in-depth investigation into the defendant’s dog’s temperament and previous behavior is a must. Often insurance carriers believe their insured when they are told by the insured that the dog involved wouldn’t hurt anyone. Very often insurance carriers will only accept the possibility that their insured is not telling the truth if you prove it to them with evidence. A good attorney will help you gather this evidence.
- Breed—Each breed has characteristics that are common to most dogs within the breed. You should find out the breed of dog involved.
- Chaining—According to People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (“PETA”; PETA.org), dogs that have been chained for long periods of time have been shown to be 3 times more likely to bite. Often, the victims of chained dog bites are children.
- Inside vs. Outside—Experts have determined that "[d]ogs that are kept outside and not allowed into the home are typically poorly socialized and more likely to demonstrate aggression towards strange people."
- Sex—Some experts have determined that intact (un-neutered) male dogs are involved in 70-76% of reported dog bite incidents (Wright J.C., Canine Aggression toward people: bite scenarios and prevention. Vet Clin North Am Sm Ani Pract 1991:21(2):299-314). You should find out whether the dog that attacked you was male or female.
- Size—It stands to reason that large breeds can cause more damage than smaller breed, especially when children are involved. A good attorney will check the dog’s veterinary records at the date closest to the incident for the dog’s weight and size.
- Temperament—Experts have opined that a dog’s temperament does not change over time. For example, a dog with an aggressive temperament will always have an aggressive temperament. Also, if a dog is aggressive at the door or towards strangers in its territory, that behavior will likely be ritualized with time and repetition. A seasoned attorney will know to investigate and discovery information about the dog's temperament.
Third, the bite wounds will help tell the story of what happened. According to experts, “there is a motivational difference between offensive and defensive aggression that shows up in the dynamics of the attack.” This is often evidenced by the number of bite wounds. A dog that is provoked into defending itself and responds with a quick inhibited bite is different than a dog who runs up to and attacks a victim with multiple deep punctures over different parts of the victims anatomy and has to be pulled off the victim by the owner/handler.
Finally, although there are many good sources of evidence in a dog bite injury case there are two sources that often are the most reliable: (1) the dog; and (2) the bite wounds.
In conclusion, please contact the Rudd Firm if you are a victim of a dog bite to see if we can help you with your case.
THIS ARTICLE IS NOT INTENDED AS LEGAL ADVICE, AND IS FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY.