Few things are as terrifying as being attacked by a vicious dog. However, when a dog targets a vulnerable area of the body—such as the face—both the emotional trauma and physical injuries can be severe. In 2019, several researchers conducted a study to determine whether certain breeds of dogs were more likely to target the face during an attack.
The Study’s Methodology
The researchers reviewed dog-bite data from the University of Virginia Health System and Nationwide Children’s Hospital. In addition, researchers looked at 240 patients from the past 15 years, all of whom suffered serious injuries to their faces as a result of a dog attack. In total, researchers reviewed 26,000 dog bite cases.
According to the study, nearly 40 percent of all dog attacks were attributable to one specific breed, while the remaining 60 percent consisted of animals of mixed or unknown breeds. After analyzing the data, researchers found that “pit bulls were responsible for the highest percentage of reported bites across all the studies (22.5 percent) followed by mixed breed (21.2 percent), and German Shepherds (17.8 percent).”
The study also looked at the severity of injuries caused by each breed. Again, pit bulls and mix-breed dogs were found to have caused the most serious injuries. Other breeds that frequently caused severe injuries during an attack were Great Danes and Akitas.
The findings of the study comport with previous beliefs regarding the most dangerous breeds of dogs. For example, another study conducted in 2020 found that the following breeds were responsible for the most fatal injuries:
• American bulldog
• German shepherd
• Mastiff and bullmastiff
In part, pit bulls are so dangerous because they do not provide any indication that they are about to attack, they tend to use a “hold and shake” style of bite, and they also strategically attack their victims.
Recovering After a Dog Bite
Most states, including Illinois, have specific laws on the books discussing the situations in which a dog owner can be liable for injuries caused by their animals. In Illinois, courts use a “strict liability” approach when it comes to dog bites. This means that a dog’s owner is liable for any injuries caused by their animal, regardless of whether the owner was negligent or could have done anything to prevent the attack.
However, this strict liability framework only applies if:
1. The victim did not provoke the dog;
2. The victim was “peaceable conducting themselves at the time of the attack; and
3. The victim was in place they were legally permitted to be.
If any of these facts are not present, a victim can still bring a case against a dog’s owner; however, they will need to prove that the animal’s owner was negligent. There are several ways to establish a dog owner’s negligence, including:
• The owner allowed their pet to wander without a leash;
• The owner failed to secure their animal behind an appropriate fence; and
• The owner failed to provide passersby with notice that there was a dangerous dog on the property.
Have You Been Attacked by a Dog?
If you, your child or another family member recently suffered severe injuries as the result of a dog attack, contact the Chicago dog bite lawyers at the law firm of Briskman Briskman & Greenberg. At Briskman Briskman & Greenberg, our dedicated team of personal injury attorneys has unique, hands-on experience investigating, negotiating and litigating dog bite claims under Illinois law. We have successfully represented countless clients in all types of animal attack cases, including those involving strict liability and negligence. To learn more and schedule a free consultation with one of our Illinois dog bite lawyers, call us at 877-595-4878. You can also reach us through our online contact form.