This week Smith & Hassler filed a lawsuit in Harris County District Court on behalf of a 7-year old boy from the Houston area who was seriously injured when he was attacked by a pit bull last year. The boy, who we will refer to by his initials A.W. for this article, had just been dropped off by his school bus and was walking home on a public street when the pit bull charged out of its owner’s yard, raced down the sidewalk and without hesitating attacked A.W. The unprovoked attack was witnessed by the school bus driver, among others. A.W. was rescued by some neighbors who took him into their home to protect him from the dog, but unfortunately the neighbors were not able to get to A.W. before he sustained some nasty bite wounds to his arm. Someone called 911 and Houston Police Department and animal control investigated the incident. When the police officers arrived the dog attacked the officers, leaving the officers no choice but to shoot the dog. A.W. was transported to hospital where he received stitches to close the wounds.
In 2009 there were 30 fatal dog attacks in the United States. The dog breed most commonly reported in those attacks were pit bull dogs (14 attacks) followed by Rottweilers (4 attacks).
The negligence lawsuit is filed against the homeowner from whose property the pit bull was allowed to escape prior to the attack on A.W. Importantly, interviews with other neighbors reveal that this particular dog has been aggressive toward people prior to the attack on A.W. The homeowner is insured with a “big name” insurance company that made a decision a little over a year ago to change the way it handles injury claims in an effort to save some money. Rather than waste additional time allowing the insurance company to review the file and make an unreasonable offer that they know won’t settle A.W.’s case, Smith and Hassler filed suit. If the insurance company does not want to offer fair and reasonable compensation to 7-year old A.W. for his medical bills, physical pain, mental anguish, physical impairment and scarring, a jury will decide what A.W. is owed. We should be thankful for our jury system that takes the fate of Harris County residents such as A.W. out of the hands on an insurance company and puts it in the hands of 12 jurors.
If you or a family member have been injured due to a dog bite or other animal attack, call Smith & Hassler and one of our experienced Houston personal injury attorneys will be glad to give a free consultation.