Dog Bites and Legal Action: Three Case Studies

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Although dogs are loved by many millions of pet owners across the United States, it’s a sad fact of life that some of these animals are dangerous and will bite people. It is estimated that there are around 4.7 million dog bites every year, although only a fraction of those – around 800,000 – require medical care.

Obviously, many of these incidents end up as legal battles and, each year, the insurance industry pays more than $1 billion in dog-bite claims. The important thing to remember is that, although a dog bite incident will feel shocking and scary, you’re not alone and you (or the person bitten) have rights.

This article will look at three examples of dog bite cases and what has happened so far.

Dog-bite Victim Nips NY Duo

A lot of dog bite cases look at the history of the dog’s behavior and how its owners behave accordingly…

A well-known socialite couple from New York are reportedly being sued for $200,000 after their dog, a regular sized black lab called Babu, bit a woman, Beth Fischer, near the Gondola Plaza at a resort in Aspen. The dog was on a leash at the time, but was known to occasionally display aggressive tendencies previous to the attack. Fischer is also suing the hotel where the couple and their dog were staying, for not enforcing their own ‘Guide to Petiquette’. The dog bite occurred last September and the victim claims she continues to receive medical treatment as a direct result of the attack.

Son Sues Father for Dog Bite

The long term consequences of a serious dog bite should never be overlooked…

A boy’s father has sued his own father for a dog attack that left his son physically and emotionally scarred. The attack took place back in 2006 and, although medical costs and some future expenses were settled during trial, the potential need for future surgery, psychological treatment and damages for pain and suffering had to be determined through evidence. The sum of 150,000 ZAR (the equivalent of about 20,000 USD) has been awarded.

Rottweiler Gets Stay of Execution

Even when a dog bite case ruling has been made, it’s not always the end of the story…

Axel, a seven year old Rottweiler, has had a court ruling of destruction lifted after the dog owner’s lawyer, Jonathan Kay, appealed the decision. Judge Geoffrey Venning granted the appeal after re-examining the case. He decided that, partly due to the dog owner’s 19 year record of safely keeping dogs, the circumstances of the attack were exceptional and unlikely to recur.

If you or someone you know has been bitten by a dog, it’s important to take action quickly. Obviously, medical treatment is the number one priority, but it’s also important to report the incident to the police and contact your attorney as soon as possible. The quicker you act, the more likely you are to receive hassle-free compensation for any medical costs, pain and suffering and any loss of earnings from work.

Carl Jaeckel is an attorney and “of counsel” to Morgan & Morgan, the firm behind For the People. His practice focuses on Class Action, Mass Tort & Consumer Fraud. He heads up the firms online marketing group.