Dog Bite Fatalities Are Increasing


Dog Bite Fatalities Are Increasing

I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento dog bite lawyer. Dogs may be man’s best friend, but there are occasions when we see another side of our canine friends. While some dog breeds are implicated more often in dog bites, it is important to know why and how dog bites occur.

Dog Bite Statistics

In 2016, fatalities associated with dog bites numbered about 31 nationwide. Pit bulls accounted for 22 of the 31 fatalities. In fact, pit bulls and rottweilers were implicated in 77 percent of all deaths related to dog bites in 2016. Between 2005 and 2016, 254 individuals died due to pit bull attacks, and 45 died as a result of an attack by a rottweiler.

In California, children under nine accounted for 80 percent of the fatal dog bite accidents that occurred when a new person was admitted to the household. Pit bulls were involved in 70 percent of these deaths. The deaths also involved more than one dog by a factor of 61 percent with 35 percent involving three to four dogs. In fact, about 26 percent involved more than four dogs. The pack instinct has reached a high not seen in the past decades.

Criminal Charge Statistics

In the past year, 6 percent of all fatal dog attacks resulted in criminal charges. In the attacks cited, 45 percent involved someone who was not a family member.

California Deaths Due to Dog Bites

California ranked highest in the number of deaths associated with dog bites in 2016. There were six deaths in the state, almost 70 percent involved an attack by a pit bull.

Nationwide Breakdown of Dog Bite Fatalities

In the years between 2005 and 2016, 392 people died. Of these, 254 or 64.8 percent were due to pit bull attacks. By contrast, huskies and mastiffs accounted for 3.1 percent, the American bulldog 3.6 percent and German shepherd 3.8 percent of deaths. Rottweilers accounted for 11 percent or 43 deaths.

Liability for a Dog Bite

California is a strict liability state. This means that the owner is liable if the bite occurs when the dog is on public property or in or around the home when the person who was bitten was on the premises legally.

Under Civil Code 3342 in California, the lawful admission to private property covers those asked onto the property, postal workers or someone hired to do work on the property. Government agencies that use dogs in the course of their work are not implicated under this law.

Injuries From Dog Bites

Dog bites can cause serious, tearing injuries. For instance, facial lacerations, scarring or loss of facial tissue may require plastic surgery to repair. Fractures and head injuries are common. Psychological injury also occurs ranging from simple fear of dogs to fear that remands the individual to his or her home.

Insurance Coverage of Dog Bites

In order to have dog bite insurance coverage, homeowners and renters buy the type of policy specific for their needs. The amount of coverage depends on the policy. It can range from a low of $25,000 to a high of $300,000. If the policy does not pay the amount the court awards, the dog owner will be liable for the rest. It is important to find out if an insurance company has breed restrictions, disqualifying the homeowner or renter if they own certain breeds. Finally, if you are covered by homeowners or renters insurance, you may be covered if your dog bites someone outside of the home.

Sacramento Dog Bite Lawyer

I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento dog bite lawyer. If you have been injured by a dog or if a member of your family died in a dog attack, call me at (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400 for free and friendly advice.

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Since 1982, I have served as an injury lawyer to represent traumatic injury and wrongful death claims for those seeking just compensation for damages they incurred in personal injury accidents.

I own and founded, a source of information on many types of personal injuries under California law.

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