There have been some horrific stories in the news lately involving children being injured by animals. While those stories were likely covered by the news because of the sensationalism of exotic animals, the sad truth is that millions of people are injured every year by man’s best friend. Dog bites account for more than thirty deaths a year on average. And while dogs have a bad reputation, cats and other animals that have been kept as pets can also hurt people.

When I was a kid, I was running down the street with our neighbors friendly, well-behaved golden retriever. The dog was trying the herd me as I was sprinting and I accidentally stepped on its paw. Since I was sprinting, I can only imagine that it was very painful for him. He immediately nipped my elbow, breaking the skin and drawing blood. After I went home and had the wound cleaned, we told the neighbors what had happened. Even though it was an accident and understandable, the neighbors felt they needed to get rid of their family pet because of the dog-bite laws in California (where we were living at the time).

Many times, dog bites and other animal attacks are the result of owners who mistreat or simply fail to train their pets. Other times, a dog may just be aggressive and not get the supervision required. Unfortunately, it is often the dog who pays the price whether it be an accident, like with my neighbor’s dog, or due to a non-vigilant or lazy owner.

When a pet does attack someone, homeowner’s insurance will often cover the damages to the person attacked. But as we have written about extensively, trusting insurance companies to pay a liability claim is usually not the best choice.

If you find yourself in a situation where you may need legal help as a result of a dog bite or other pet attack, contact a lawyer you can trust to discuss the matter.