Dogs: Man’s Best Friend (Usually)

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Roughly 44% of all U.S. households have a dog.  Ours has a tri-color King Charles Cavalier named Lincoln (pictured above).  Lincoln and most other dogs are wonderful companions, protectors, and exercise buddies, but when they want to dogs can inflict a lot of damage primarily due to their bite pressure.  So just how strong is a dog’s bite?  
The average human has a bite pressure of approximately 120 pounds.  Dogs have a much higher bite pressure and the strength of their bite is proportionate to their head and mouth width.  For example, a Rottweiler has a bite strength of 328 pounds, and the Mastiff’s bite strength was 552 pounds, which is almost as strong as a lion’s.  When a dog clamps down on a victim and then starts shaking its head, terrible injuries can result.

And unfortunately, dog bites are not rare.  Last year, 6,755 postal workers alone were bitten or attacked by dogs, and experts fear this number will rise as online shopping increases.  Overall, there are about 4.5 million dog bites per year according to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and most dog bite victims know the dog that caused their injuries.

Even more significantly, most dog bite victims are children.  Children typically do not know how to read a dog’s body language and they are more apt to run up to a dog and pet it without letting the dog sniff and get comfortable or to interrupt it while it is eating or sleeping.  Children are also more likely to treat a dog like a stuffed animal and hug, kiss and pull on a dog.  Because of their smaller size, children’s faces are often vulnerable to a dog bite and significant damage can quickly be done to a child’s facial tissue.

Last year, a single insurance company (State Farm) paid out more than $121 million dollars in dog-related injury claims.  To be fair, State Farm acknowledges all dog claims are grouped together so this number also includes claims where a dog chased a bicyclist causing a wreck in addition to actual dog bites and dog attacks.  Even still, $121 million dollars in dog-related claims for a single insurance company should be worthy of dog-owner’s attention.

Of course, there are things we can all do to help reduce dog bite and dog attack incidences.  Socialize your dog properly.  Keep pets on a leash while out walking.  Ensure you dog is adequately secured in its fence if it is an outside dog.  Teach children to approach dogs cautiously and how best to interact with them and do not leave small children with a dog unsupervised.

Even when precautions are taken, dog bites and attacks can still happen.  After all, no matter how much they feel like family, dogs are still animals and can behave unpredictably.  Dog owners should ensure they have adequate insurance in place in the event their dog bites or attacks someone.  Many homeowner’s policies cover dog related injuries but not all of them.  Check with your agent.  If your homeowner’s policy does not cover you or your type of dog (many insurance companies exclude coverage for certain “bully breeds” such as Pit Bulls, Dobermans, Rottweilers, etc.), then purchase separate dog insurance.  Not only will you protect yourself and your assets but you will also ensure the victim is adequately compensated for the harm caused.

At the Law Offices of John Day, our award-winning lawyers have been privileged to help dog bite and dog attack victims receive the compensation they deserve for their medical bills and pain and suffering.  We handle all dog bite and dog attack cases on a contingency basis which means we only get paid if we recover money for you.  We have recovered millions of dollars for our satisfied clients and we would be honored to help you too.

To get started, just give us a call at 615-742-4880 (Nashville) or 615-867-9900 (Murfreesboro) or 866-812-8787 (toll-free from anywhere in the State of Tennessee or elsewhere).  Or, if you prefer, simply contact us online and we will call you.