Portland Dog Bite Attorney
Being the victim of a dog attack or bite can be a scary and life-changing experience. These attacks often involve children, which make them even more tragic. You may have expensive medical bills and questions about how they will get paid. Dog bite victims deal with pain, psychological trauma, and scarring that may last a lifetime.
It is not always easy for dog bite victims to hold the dog owner responsible. Owners are hesitant to take responsibility because they fear something bad will happen to their dog. Homeowner’s insurance companies often misunderstand Oregon’s dog bite laws or try to convince victims of dangerous dogs that they are not entitled to bring a claim. Even personal injury lawyers that accept these cases sometimes do not understand the law. Chad Stavley is a Portland dog bite attorney who has successfully resolved many dog bite injury cases. He has also taken a dog bite injury case to trial and has received the largest verdict in that category in recent Oregon history.
If you or a family member has been the victim of a dangerous dog, you may be able to make a case and hold the dog owner and their insurance company responsible for your damages. You’re going to need a Portland dog bite attorney with experience handling dog bite injury cases and winning at trial. Call and speak to an experienced Portland dog bite attorney for a free consultation.
Help from an experienced Portland dog bite attorney
Various laws can all apply in a dog bite injury case. Dog bite victims should be aware of the degree to which theses laws make the dog owner liable. I put together a basic chart at the bottom of this page to explain the circumstances in which a dog owner is responsible for their dog’s actions and the extent of that liability. In our experience, victims do not get taken seriously by the insurance company until they get a good lawyer. A good dog bite injury lawyer will be able to build your case to make it as strong as it can be before negotiating with the insurance company. How do we make sure your dog bite injury case is as strong as possible?
Pitbulls are responsible for most significant injuries and fatalities
Any dog can be dangerous, especially those that are trained to be aggressive. In Portland, dog bite cases with significant injuries seem to involve Pitbulls most often. That has been our experience. Nationwide fatal dog bite attack statistics confirm our suspicion. In 2018 there were 36 fatal dog attacks in the United States, 26 involved pit bulls. That is 72% of all the fatal attacks. The remaining 28% is spread pretty evenly across mixed breeds (8%), Rottweilers (6%), Mastiffs/Bullmastiffs (6%), and Dogo Argentino (6%).
Children get hurt and killed most
Looking at the fatality statistics from 20018 also proves what we see in Portland dog bite injury cases. The victims are generally children. Of the 36 fatal dog attacks nationally in 2018, 15 (42%) were six-years-old or younger. The majority of those child victims (73%) were under two years old. Because children cannot bring a lawsuit, dog bite cases often involve establishing a conservator or guardian ad litem to bring a claim on behalf of the child.
Emotional support animals or service animals – the difference
One issue getting a lot of national media attention is the abuse of laws surrounding emotional support animals and service animals. This issue is that people want to take their pets on their flight. But pets on flights are restricted. So the person manipulates an easily gameable system by getting documentation certifying that their dog, or other pet, is an emotional support animal. Then the dog attacks someone because it is aggressive or in a very stressful environment where it is uncomfortable. The airlines are very aware of this problem but have generally chosen to do nothing about it. They have and will argue that the Air Carrier Access Act ties their hands. They claim that there is nothing they can do to combat the problem. This is not true. The truth is that people gaming the system are buying lots of airfares, and the airlines don’t want to lose their money. It is important to know the difference between a service animal and an emotional support animal.
Service animals are trained.
A service animal is a highly trained animal whose job is to help a person with a disability. An example is a guide dog for a blind person. Service animals have access to many public locations, including public transportation under the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). A service animal must be able to perform tasks for a person with mental or physical disabilities. Services animals are working animals, not pets. We are not aware of any attacks in airports or on flights by a legitimate service animal.
Emotional support animals are untrained.
An emotional support animal may not be trained at all. It is a pet that provides emotional comfort for a person. The ADA does not govern emotional support animals. The Fair Housing Act (FHA) and the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) govern emotional support animals. Unlike service animals, the law does not require emotional support animals to be trained at all. And because they don’t have to be trained, or even trainable, emotional support animals can be birds, rabbits, fish, etc. A person only needs to get a letter from a licensed mental health professional stating that the person is under their care for a diagnosed mental health disability and that the person needs the support animal as an accommodation. As you can imagine, fraud is rampant. You can go on the internet and get a letter that meets the ACAA requirement in minutes. However, the ACAA allows airlines exceptions for safety and health reasons. Delta Airlines responded to a particularly awful on-plane attack (and lawsuit) by changing their requirements placing restrictions on emotional support animals. Other airlines should follow suit. You can read more about this growing public safety threat at dogsbite.org.
We’ve helped many others, let us help you
We’ve helped many people in Portland and throughout Oregon with their dog bite and dog attack cases. We are proud of our results and encourage you to review our Results page. You can also look at our five-star Google reviews. If you or a loved one has been hurt in a case involving a dangerous animal, call Portland dog bite attorney Chad Stavley today and get your free and confidential consultation.
Understanding Oregon Dog Bite Law
- Owner Knows Dog Is Aggressive
- Dog Is At Large
- Dog With No History and Under Owner's Control