Negosentro.com | Bitten by My Neighbor’s Dog. What’s Next? | During the pandemic, the number of dog bites across the U.S. has nearly tripled, which tells us that dogs have been under a lot of stress lately just like their owners have. Most cases occurred within tightly knit groups such as families, neighborhoods, or close groups of friends.
Why Do Dogs Snap?
There are dogs that are normally quite docile, but for some unknown reason they suddenly bite someone, and the viciousness of the attack can be off the charts. Professionals claim that dogs don’t snap out of the blue since most of them have been provoked, even if the victim doesn’t perceive his or her behavior as being provocative towards the dog.
Also, a dog under a lot of stress will be more likely to bite. There’s a reason the number of dog bites has skyrocketed during the pandemic. Dogs tend to mirror their owners’ emotions. So, if an owner is under a lot of stress or struggles with anxiety, the dog will follow their example. And an anxious or stressed dog can easily get aggressive in order to put a distance between you and its possessions, which include their owner’s attention or affection.
On the other hand, there are dog breeds that have been trained for generations to attack or protect their owners or livestock. We’re talking about the so-called dog fighting breeds and dog breeds with a statistically long history of aggressive behavior.
The Most Aggressive Breeds
If your neighbor has one of the following dog breeds, you should be on the lookout:
- Doberman Pinscher
- Jack Russell terrier
- Chow Chow
- Australian cattle dog
- German shepherd
- Australian shepherd
- Siberian Husky
- Wolf hybrid
Pit bulls and rottweilers are accountable for 60% of human deaths, and it’s not because they are the most likely to attack. It is because when they grip, they rarely let go. Most of these dogs were at their first bite too, and most of the victims (70%) were children. Pit bulls are also accountable for 95% of deadly attacks on other dogs and 93% of deadly attacks on livestock.
Small breeds like chihuahua do bite often but they are less likely to cause as much damage to a person or a property as larger breeds can. That’s why many home insurance companies do not offer coverage for bites by most dog fighting breeds and medium-sized breeds with a history of aggression, but they have absolutely no restriction against chihuahuas.
I’ve Been Bitten: What’s Next?
The first step to recover lost property or medical expenses is to file a personal injury claim against the dog owner’s Homeowners Insurance Policy. An insurance adjuster will call you back to negotiate the value of the claim. Be very careful about what you will be telling them – don’t let them reach the conclusion that you provoked the dog or that your injuries are not that bad. They’ll try to use that info against you to reduce your claim. Assistance from a personal injury attorney is much needed here.
If your neighbor’s home insurance policy doesn’t cover (all) your medical expenses and property damage or if the dog has a history of aggressive behavior and your neighbor refuses to do something about it, you could sue him. After being bitten by a dog you are entitled to compensation for any damages (including psychological distress) caused by the dog attack. But if and how you’ll get that compensation largely depends on the dog bite laws in your home state.
There are 14 U.S. states that will let the owner and the dog get away with it if the animal is at its first known attack. We’re talking about the so-called “one free bite” rule. In other states, this rule still stands but there are a handful of exceptions. For instance, you could sue the dog owner and win if he or she had a legal obligation to prevent the attack like keeping the dog on a leash or with a muzzle on even if the dog has no past history of known attacks.
Since dog bite laws are not that easy to navigate, there are the so-called dog bite attorneys that can help victims seek justice even if the dog was at its first bite. Most of these law professionals work on a contingency basis, which means that you won’t have to shell out any legal fees if there’s no settlement or victory in the courtroom for you. You can find more on pintas.com. Pintas and Mullins Injury Lawyers have a significant success streak in dealing with similar cases, and their legal expertise can help you stay informed about all the relevant laws and legal options that you can pursue in a dog bite lawsuit.
With all of this information in mind, you are now ready to tackle a dog bite claim without any worry of legal misconduct on your part. Whether the bite occurs on your property or around the block, your neighbor’s negligence in controlling their pet’s behavior should not be something you have to helplessly suffer from.