The severity of dog bite attacks vary for a multitude of reasons, including stress reaction by the dog or a perceived threat. Other times the dog can be startled or become overly excited during rough and tumble play. Regardless of the reason a bite occurs, the impact can be life changing. Every year approximately 14,025 citizens are hospitalized due to dog bite injuries.3 These injuries can range from minor bites, requiring a few stitches, to life altering injuries, requiring extensive surgeries including reconstructive surgery, and even death. Regretfully the most susceptible to a fatal encounter with a dog are children. In a 13 year study, from 2005 to 2017, 49% of dog bite fatalities were children age 9 and younger; 48% of those being children less than a year old.4
Data shows 27% of dog bite fatality victims were children ages 9-years and younger, 6% were ages 10 to 18-years, a rare age group for dog bite fatality victims, and 67% were adults, ages 19-years and older.
Most children killed by dogs were male.
Most adults killed by dogs were female.
Pit bulls inflicted 72% of all deaths.
According to DogsBite.org, in 2019, for the first time on record, adult victims in the 30-49 age group outnumbered the 0-4 age group, which historically has the highest number of dog bite-related fatalities. Pit bulls inflicted 11 of these 13 adult deaths, 85%.
Pit bulls killed in every single age group in 2019: 0-2 years, 3-4 years, 5-9 years, 10-18 years, 19-29 years, 30-49 years, 50-69 years and 70+ years. Whereas, all other dog breeds combined primarily killed children ≤ 2 years and adults ≥ 50 years old.
During a 15-year study regarding dog bite fatalities, 521 Americans were killed.8 Of those 521, Pit bulls and Rottweilers were responsible for 76.2% (397) of those deaths.
These statistics are concerning for people who live around pit bulls and rottweilers. Why are they so deadly?
Pit bulls were originally bred for animal-killing sports and dog fighting, and because of this heritage, they often show a tendency to attack other animals with remarkable ferocity. They can be unrelenting when attacking. This is likely the reason pit bulls are used in illegal dog fights, by criminal organizations to guard drugs and other property and to intimidate and attack others. Their ferocious and intimidating nature is one reason they are used by U.S. Customs and Border Protection as drug detection dogs. It is very difficult to ignore this history.
Rottweilers have a different history. They are considered to be one of the oldest dog breeds with origins going back to Roman times. They marched over the Alps with the Roman legions, protecting the humans and driving their cattle. Their main purpose was driving and guarding cattle and defending their masters and their property. Rottweilers have a strong sense of loyalty and purpose. Their temperament makes them great dogs for protecting family and property, but their size can make them a problem for even friendly visitors.
Animal instincts can transform both breeds into dangerous dogs when they perceive a threat or prey. The danger is amplified by a lack of training, abuse, neglect, irresponsible ownership, and further aggressive breeding.
We love these dogs, but we cannot ignore that the majority of dog attack deaths and injuries are caused by two very specific breeds. These statistics suggest that you should be careful around these breeds, especially if the dog is unfamiliar to you. It is also wise to take the statistics into consideration when looking to adopt, especially if you have a young child.
As a dog owner, if your dog injures someone, even off your property, you are responsible for the injuries and can be held financially accountable. When pursuing a dog bite claim, attorneys typically go after the dog owner’s homeowners insurance or renter’s insurance. These insurance coverages are to protect you and your assets from a lawsuit in certain situations, including if your dog bites someone.
As a current or future dog owner, it is key to review your current homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy to make sure you are covered if your dog bites someone. Insurance companies closely watch dog bite statistics and each insurance company has a list of “excluded dog breeds.” If you own a dog breed on the excluded list and your dog injures someone, your insurance company will not cover your financial responsibility. This leaves you personally liable for the victim’s medical costs, pain, suffering, disfigurement, and other damages. Your assets are at risk—everything you own is up for grabs. Excluded breeds can vary by the insurance company, but it’s not surprising to see Pit Bulls, Rottweilers, Doberman Pinschers, Chow Chows, or German Shepherds on those lists.
Call your insurance agent or insurance company to make sure you have sufficient insurance coverage to protect yourself from being financially accountable for your dog’s bite. Ask if your dog’s breed is on an excluded list and, if so, whether you can have a “variance” or “rider” to add your dog to your insurance policy. Many insurance companies grant a variance if your dog has a “Canine Good Citizen” certificate from the American Kennel Club, or your dog is trained as a “Service Dog”. Worse case, you can look for another insurance company to purchase “Animal Liability” coverage specifically for your breed.
Even with proper insurance coverage, we feel compelled to urge you to train your dog, socialize your dog, avoid abuse and neglect, and watch your dog around kids. Dogs that are spayed or neutered have also been shown to be less aggressive and, thus, less likely to injure someone. Follow these suggestions and you are less likely to get a letter from a law firm like Gage Mathers.
Before her passing, members of the Gage Mathers Team found themselves petting the loving head of our office dog—Ella, a mini Australian Shepherd brought in by Martin and Liz Mathers. Joseph D’Aguanno, our managing partner, has 4 rescue dogs himself, including a Pitbull mix named Mabel.
As leading personal injury attorneys, we have seen the negative side of pet ownership—dogs who deviated from normal canine behavior and caused injuries to a person. Considering there are 76 million dogs in the US and 38.4% of U.S. homes own at least one, it is no surprise that there is an average of 4.4 million dog bites in the U.S. each year.1
As animal lovers, our main goal is not to punish the dog, which is oftentimes a victim of improper training or handling. Our goal is to advocate for dog bite victims to ensure they receive the necessary treatment for their injuries and are properly compensated.
The majority of the bites result in little to no injury (81%), but it does not take much
for a bite to become serious, especially for children or the elderly.2 Serious injuries include systemic infections, disfigurement, or even death. This can result in mounting medical bills or debt.
The average cost of a hospital visit for a dog bite has increased from 2003 at $19,162 to $44,760 in 2019; this is a 133.6% rise in cost. Increasing health care costs are unlikely to explain the doubling of medical expenses. We believe the sizeable
increase in health costs for dog bite victims is the proliferation of large and dangerous breeds (and improper training). Either way, this is a major event that will impact your life for a long time to come.
Dog bite attacks can be the most psychologically damaging events you face. You can’t control the dog. You don’t know when, or if, the dog will stop attacking. The emotional trauma and physical injuries can change your life forever.
At Gage Mathers Law Group, we care deeply about dog bite victims. For over 50 years, our Phoenix dog bite lawyers have helped dog bite victims throughout Arizona get the compensation they deserve. We are experts in navigating the complexities of dog bite laws as well as negotiating with insurance companies to secure maximum settlement value for our clients. That is why thousands of people have trusted their cases with us.
We are here to help if you or a loved one has been the victim of a dog bite. Call (602) 258-0646 to request a free consultation.
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured, please fill out the form below for your free consultation or call us at (602) 258-0646
After being in a car accident in Phoenix. Gage Mathers took my case. He is very knowledgeable and answered all my questions and concerns. Thank you so much for all you help! Im very happy with the settlement I got! I would highly recommend Gage Mathers Law Group!
After struggling to find a law firm to represent me in a product liability case, Gage Mathers came through, fighting for me during a very long and arduous process. Joe the managing attorney, along with paralegals Tracy and Erin followed up throughout the process with medical and documentation to get me a very satisfying result. For a small firm they fight for their clients and I would highly recommend them.
This Law group is phenomenal.I had an car accident in 2006.I was hit in by a 15 1/2 year oldAnd anybody who gets in the situation I’m gonna tell you a little trick.If you ever get hit by somebody that young and you get the address from the police report of where The teenagers actually residing. .Especially if it’s a parental guardian which this grandmother was.Because I worked in insurance previously I knew thatYou can actually go on the Maricopa County assessors page, a...
After working with another firm who was not qualified for my case Martin Mathers came through for me. It makes a huge difference when you have someone with experience and who knows how to navigate through the legal hurdles to win your case!
Martin and his team were really easy to work with, kept me continuously updated, and negotiated a great deal with insurance. I can’t recommend them enough.
how can i explain, how amazing and helpful from the start to finish. they got me more then I expected and I’m grateful for that. Regina was a great and caring person that really knew what she was doing and did all possible she communicated with me through it all. thank you know Joe, he one funny and cool guy he did all in is power to finish this case and support Regina through it all. I’m grateful for there hard work and will go to them all the time with anything...
On Dec 22 of 2020 my wife and I were involved in a horrific auto accident. 7 weeks in hospital, mostly in the ICU but we survived, barley. Once I was able to function, I contacted Gage Mathers to help sort out the insurances and legal matters and a couple million dollars in medical bills . It was a long and involved process but in the end it was all sorted with a handsome payout for us, which was totally unexpected on our part. Regina (our paralegal) and the accounting staff...
Martin and his team helped me through a bodily injury case after getting in a bad car accident. From day one, his team moved quickly to make sure that all documents were reveived and got to the places they needed to push our case through. The Gage-Mather’s team worked hard on our case to represent us and make sure we were awarded proper compensation.This team went the extra mile to always communicate what was going on and fight in our best interest til the very end of our ...
Martin and his team were exceptional from the start. They gathered all of the information from our bodily injury case quickly and got to work immediately, getting my family the money that we deserved from an unfortunate situation. I would highly recommend Martin at Gage Mathers for any personal injury case. He and his team were responsive and professional throughout this long process and continually fought for us and kept us in the loop.
They made this experience very easy for me. Everyone I spoke with was very friendly and professional. I want to give a shout out to Ms. Erin She is amazing. Thank you Erin! I would highly recommend them!
My father-in-law was involved in the accident with Phoenix PD. They was able to get to the case taken care of quickly and efficiently and they always made sure that he was OK and make sure that we knew what was going on with the case. Big shout out to Erin No matter how many times I called out of my father-in-law’s request she never got angry never got upset and never ever said that we was annoying are pushing she understood our frustrations and understood why we was c...
Joseph D’Aguanno and his paralegals Regina Garcia and Elizabeth Sanchez were very professional and very informative on my case. I was always able to speak with someone and I was updated throughout the process. I am super happy with the outcome and I would definitely recommend Gage Mathers to family and friends. Thank you!
Very satisfied with the service I received. Erin was very professional responded quickly and got my case done fast. I would highly recommend Erin and Gage Mathers. They went above and beyond!!!!
Martin Mathers and his entire team expertly guided me through a difficult personal injury case. They were professional and responsive throughout the long process, and they continually fought for a positive outcome. I am deeply grateful for their efforts and the successful settlement of my case. I highly recommend this outstanding team.
One year ago I had reason to believe that a previous medical procedure had caused a significant new health risk. I knew I needed legal advice on what my rights were and what options might exist for me to pursue a resolution. I reached out to Joe and he was immediately responsive. Not only did he provide me assistance in a timely way, he personally dropped off materials for me to review at my home. At that time, I really needed help and he was there for me.