Pitbull Attacks and Bites
Pit bulls were the favored pets of Helen Keller, Fred Astaire, and Franklin D. Roosevelt and were kind animals, but starting in the 1990s, some people began acquiring pit bulls for their aggressive natures and scary looks. Many owners were abusive of the breed, and their reputation as dogs to be feared spread rapidly.
While being bitten or attacked by any dog can have serious consequences, pit bulls have a reputation for viciousness and inflicting ghastly consequences on their victims. Loving owners of pit bulls will argue that this is not true. In fact, many pet pit bulls are gentle and well-behaved, but that is not always the case.
If you or a loved one has been bitten or attacked by a pit full anywhere in Michigan or Ohio, contact Ronald S. Weiss, Attorney. We will investigate the event and help you seek the compensation due you through an insurance claim or a personal injury lawsuit. While we are located in West Bloomfield, Michigan, and Toledo, Ohio, we handle cases throughout both states.
Understanding Pit Bull Attacks and Bites
A survey conducted by the physician journal “Annals of Surgery” concluded that attacks by pit bulls are associated with higher morbidity rates, higher hospital charges, and a higher risk of death than are attacks by other breeds of dogs. Some statistics even suggest that pit bulls, though representing only 6 percent of the nation’s dog population, account for 68 percent of dog bites.
In 2007, pit bulls garnered national attention when Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick was sent to prison for two years for running a dog-fighting operation featuring pit bulls. His 48 pit bulls were seized and sent to animal rescue organizations. The fate of many of them is unclear, but at least 10 did find new homes. One, however, was euthanized, and 12 others were placed in a form of solitary confinement because of their aggressive natures.
Many pit bulls are indeed well trained and well behaved, bringing up the question of nature versus nurture. Some owners may not pay enough attention to their pit bull’s needs or even view them as a safety shield, inciting an attack nature in them. A recent report by the American Animal Hospital Association states that pit bulls are "responsible for the highest percentage of reported bites across all studies (22.5%), followed by mixed breeds (21.2%), and German shepherds (17.8%)."
Both Michigan and Ohio have what are called “strict liability” laws when it comes to dog bites and attacks. This is in contrast to some states that have “one bite” laws. One bite means the dog and owner are not liable for the first incident, but strict liability holds them accountable legally from the first incident onward.
Recovering Damages From a Pit Bull Attack
Homeowner’s and renter’s insurance policies generally cover dog bites, even if they occur outside of the policyholder’s property, perhaps out in a park or taking a walk on the street with their pet. This would be the first avenue for seeking compensation for the injuries, losses, and pain and suffering that you experienced as the victim of a pit bull attack.
The other avenue is a personal injury lawsuit against the dog’s owner. In a dog bite lawsuit, you generally need to show that your injuries were the result of the dog owner’s negligence, for which the two states’ strict liability standards should provide a logical starting point.
Negotiating With Insurance Companies
Insurers are for-profit institutions. They’re not in the habit of writing blank checks. In fact, when you make a claim, they will assign a professional known as a claims adjuster to question you and try to pin as much of the fault on you as possible. This is done so they can low-ball or even deny your claim.
Don’t deal with a claims adjuster on your own. Contact us and we will handle all the questioning and negotiations. Studies have shown that settlements with insurance companies negotiated by attorneys result in two or three times the award over those handled by claimants themselves.
Legal Guidance When You Need It the Most
If you or a loved one has been the victim of a pit bull bite or attack anywhere in Michigan or Ohio, reach out to us immediately. We will listen to your story, assess what happened, and advise you of the steps you need to take to recover for your injuries and losses. We will negotiate with the dog owner’s insurance company, or we will file a personal injury lawsuit if that is the best court of action.
Wherever you are in Ohio or Michigan, contact us immediately after a pit bull incident at the office of Ronald S. Weiss, Attorney. We are experienced dog bite and personal injury attorneys who will fight for the just compensation due you.