January 2012 Archives

January 25, 2012

Fatal Maulings and Dog Attacks Are Rising Exponentially

A comprehensive thirty year examination of dog maulings and fatal dog attacks has shown an exponential increase in attacks. The study focused primarily on pitbulls who are notorious for the frequency and severity of their bites and attacks. The facts and numbers are indisputable.

During the first ten years of the study there was a total of 103 reported pit bull attacks in the United States. Fast forward to 2002 in which there were 86 attacks in that year alone (almost as much as an entire decade in the 80's). Ten years later, in the our most recent year of 2011 there was a total of 295 attacks, roughly three times as many dog attacks as there were only ten years earlier. Amazingly, 26% of all attacks during this thirty year study occurred in the last two years alone! 41% of all disfigurements caused by pitbull attack occurred in the last four years of the study.

Consistent with other reports on dog bites and maulings, the majority of these attacks occur to children. Approximately 1/3 to 1/2 of all animal attacks, again confirmed in this report, occur to children. In 2011, 102 children were attacked and/or maimed by a pit bull.

The most serious pitbull attacks can lead to death. Roughly ten percent of all reported dog attacks were fatal. Interestingly, in the first decade of the study from 1982 to 1992 there were only 18 reported fatalities, whereas in 2011 there were 23 reported deaths from dog attack. That is five more in a single year than in an entire decade thirty years ago. In fact 65% of all pitbull fatalities occured in the last ten years of the study.

I know many animal rights activist will take issue with such studies and cite other studies which show that animals are not inherently dangerous animals but are only raised that way. In fact, a very close friend of mine is a pitbull breeder. The numbers, however, seem to paint a very different picture.

Victims of dog bite attacks are entitled to:

  • Past and future medical bills
  • Lost wages and/or loss of earning capacity
  • Pain and suffering
  • Compensation for scarring and disfigurement
  • Compensation for embarrassment and emotional distress caused by the scars
  • Loss of consortium

Most dog bite cases in Rhode Island and Massachusetts will be covered by the owner's homeowner insurance.

My office has represented many dog bite victims with tremendous success. Clients have included those with minor scars and wounds to arm maulings that required extensive reconstructive and cosmetic surgery. If you or a friend or family member contact an experienced dog bite attorney. Call my office for a free no pressure consultation.

January 17, 2012

2.7 Million Dollar Settlement in Fatal ATV Crash

ATV accidents often lead to catastrophic injury or even death, and a recent settlement from a case in Pennsylvania highlights the danger of ATV accidents. A 19 year old college student was killed when an ATV driven by another young man, allegedly intoxicated, flipped over ejecting both operator and passenger. The passengers injuries were fatal. The family has now settled their lawsuit for 2.7 million dollars.

Unfortunately, this case was only one of the nearly 1000 people who die each year from ATV accidents. Another 150,000 people are seen, on average, each year at emergency rooms from ATV related accidents.

If you are injured in an ATV accident, you should know that there may very well be coverage for your personal injuries. ATVs are often independently insured or may be covered by homeowners insurance. With coverage you are entitled to past and future medical bills, lost wages and pain and suffering. In this case, it appears that the family successfully went after several homeowners who had supplied the underage driver of the ATV with alcohol which led to the fatal accident.

ATV accident cases can be complex and you need an attorney with the experience to handle such cases and look for every dollar available to you. If you or someone you know was injured in an ATV accident contact our office right away for a free consultation.

January 12, 2012

Old Sexist Opinions About Female Driving Now Debunked

The sexist cliche is that women are worse drivers than men. Female drivers have been fodder for stand-up comedians and bumper stickers for many years, but an online insurance survey has shown that men are far worse drivers than women and cause more accidents and more serious auto accidents than women.

This study has revealed that more than 80 percent of all fatal auto accidents are caused by men and that more men die in motor vehicle accidents than women. Statistics from a recent calendar year show that men were involved in approximately 6.1 million car accidents while women in the same calendar year were involved in 4.4 million car crashes. According to these numbers, women are 27 percent less likely to be involved in an auto accident.

It is not only in the number of accidents in which men look worse than women. Men lead almost every category of poor driving including speeding tickets and other violations such as failure to yield and men outnumber women in the number of DUIs by a factor of 3 to 1.

There is no clear explanation for results like these. Perhaps it is testosterone. Nevertheless, insurance statistics year after year show that women are, in fact, much better and safer drivers than men. The results show up in auto insurance quotes as well where the average woman pays $698 for insurance and a man pays $765 for the same length policy.

January 5, 2012

Truck Rollover and Personal Injury Claims

Truck accidents, in particular, truck rollover accidents are among the most serious vehicular accidents on the road and often result in serious personal injury or wrongful death. Truck rollover can occur to both commercial vehicles and private use vehicles. In some circumstances they can also result in a product liability case if the tire and/or truck was negligently designed.

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Commercial Truck Rollover Cases

Commerical tractor trailers are all over the road at all times of the day. They can be incredibly dangerous for a number of reasons. For one, tractor trailers are often carrying loads in excess of 50,000 pounds. This tremendous weight makes the vehicle difficult to maneuver or take evasive action if necessary. The stopping time and turning time of a long 18-wheeler carrying a ton of weight is very long. If the truck driver makes too hasty a motion in the vehicle it can cause all or part of the tractor trailer to capsize or rollover causing a potentially very serious accident.

Commercial truck rollovers may also occur because the driver is too tired to safely operate his vehicle, yet stays on the road in an effort to meet a deadline or finish a job on time. Commercial truck drivers have fallen asleep at the wheel causing them to jackknife or run off the road. All too often, other drivers on the road are unable to avoid collision with these incredibly large vehicles.

Truck Rollovers in Personal Use Vehicles

SUVs and other non-commercial trucks have also had a long history of rollovers in accidents. While newer model SUVs and crossovers have a more stable weight balance and are less likely to rollover, the danger of a rollover remains, particularly in older SUVs. SUVs are trucks and can not be driven like a car. They are much heavier, possess different weight distributions, and may be "top heavy" when compared to other automobiles. Quick lane changes, sudden movements or slamming on the brakes may cause an SUV to rollover. When rollover occurs, the injuries to the driver and passengers are likely to be much more serious than in an ordinary motor vehicle accident.

SUV Rollover and Product Liability Claims

If you were injured in an SUV rollover, like any other auto accident, you may be entitled to personal injury compensation through your auto insurance or the at-fault driver's auto insurance. In addition, however, if it appears that the SUV had a negligent design causing an unnecessary rollover of the vehicle, you may also have a product liability claim. Product liability cases regarding SUV design have included: improper seatbelt design, failure of airbag to deploy, insufficient strength and design to the roof causing roof collapse, tire blowouts, poor stability design, poorly designed stability systems and ineffective braking systems among others.

If the SUV rollover was not caused exclusively by driver error, there may be a product liability case in addition to damages recovered from the auto insurance policies.

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