$47,500 settlement in pit bull attack personal injury claim

"Rehabilitated" street dog bites man's face, leaving permanent scar

$47,500 settlement in pit bull attack personal injury claim

Norfolk personal injury lawyer Ed Atkinson negotiated a  $47,500 settlement for a young man attacked at work by his boss’ pit bull in Chesapeake, Virginia.  The owner had the pit bull on a leash and said it was friendly.  When the young man went to pet the dog, however, it made a vicious lunge toward him and bit him, latching onto his face.  The attack left scars on the young man’s lip and chin.

Negotiating the dog bite injury settlement took time.  The dog owner’s insurance company, based in Florida, was not very familiar with Virginia dog bite law.  Through some patient explaining and tense discussions, the home owner’s insurance company decided to substantially increase their offer.  The company argued that the dog bite victim provoked the dog and assumed the risk by petting it.  They also argued that there was no prior bite, which, as dog bite attorney Ed Atkinson explained, Virginia law doesn’t say will make or break an animal attack case.

This is case features yet another “rehabilitated” pit bull.  That is, the owner under whose care the dog attacked someone adopted the dog without extensive knowledge of its history.  A certain trend has emerged where charities encourage people to adopt pit bulls, with assurances that they are very gentle animals.  In the first place, pit bulls may in fact be gentle toward people, true, but they tend to show aggression to other animals, which can trigger an attack on a person who is only trying to keep two animals from fighting one another.  Second, unlike some other breeds, pit bulls pose a problem for adoption because their original owners in many cases wanted an aggressive dog.  Some may have even mistreated the animals.  All of this can happen without the adopting family knowing about it.

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