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Child Dog Bites

Often considered man's best friend and the beloved pet of many families, dogs can pose a great danger to young children. Whether the family pet or a stray canine, when a dog loses control for any reason, the harm inflicted on a child can be exceedingly serious and result in severe injuries. While adults are certainly susceptible to grave injury from a dog bite, a similar interaction between a small child and a dog often leads to more significant damages, and can be fatal. Rhode Island Dog Bite Lawyer David Tapalian has the extensive knowledge to help families and victims of child dog bites. With over 20 years of personal injury experience in Rhode Island and Massachusetts, Attorney Tapalian can help hold a negligent dog owner responsible for damages and ensure you receive the maximum compensation to which you are entitled for your child's injuries including medical bills, reconstructive surgery, physical therapy, behavioral therapy, future procedures, and pain and suffering caused by a dog attack.

All breeds of dog can bite and inflict harm, though statistics show certain kinds, such as pit bulls and rottweilers, are more likely to cause serious harm to adults and kids. When these types of breeds do bite, the damage is frequently more severe than other breeds due to their natural propensities and tendency to "hold on" to a victim. However, it's important to understand that dog bite injuries can, and do, occur among all types of dogs, even the smallest of breeds. As a Rhode Island Dog Bite Attorney, David Tapalian has helped families of children who suffered pain from vicious stray dogs but also from the normally docile family pet.

Physical & Emotional Effects of Dog Bites on Children

A violent dog attack can be one of the most traumatic events in a person's childhood. Kids make up the majority of dog bite victims, specifically boys aged 5-9, and over a quarter of all dog bite attacks to children require emergency care. Due to their smaller height, injuries are most frequently sustained on the face, head, and neck, and depending on the severity and location of the damage, immediate reconstructive surgery may be required on one or more parts of the body. It is not uncommon for additional procedures or surgeries, to minimize scarring for example, to be necessary throughout childhood as the youngster's body grows and changes. In addition, animal bites are very prone to infection which can cause additional issues throughout the healing process. In January 2020, an aggressive dog whose owner claimed "didn't bite" attacked a Providence boy leaving the boy with injuries to his lip that required multiple surgeries. Evidence of the attack may remain for years as the boy's body changes and may require more reconstructive surgery. A skilled attorney will incorporate the cost of future medical needs when seeking compensation in a child dog bite injury claim.

In addition to the obvious physical damage victims suffer, children in particular are extremely vulnerable to psychological damage after being seriously hurt by a dog. Traumatic incidents like these can lead to long lasting emotional trauma that may require cognitive/behavioral therapy for anxiety, post-traumatic stress, nightmares, emotional outbursts, and intense phobias. Even with proper treatment, a fear of dogs and other animals may never cease, leaving the distressed victim afraid to play outside or walk down the street for fear of an intimidating encounter.

In terms of dog bite fatalities, infants are the most vulnerable victims of these tragic incidents. Babies under a year-old account for 19% of all fatalities caused by dog attacks. During the period from 2005-2018, dogs killed 61 infants, according to U.S. Dog Bite Fatalities. In certain cases, the family of the deceased child may be eligible to seek compensation with a wrongful death claim against the owner, or keeper, of the animal. In tragic fatalities like these, its important to consult a qualified dog bite lawyer practiced in wrongful death in RI or MA to ensure the rights of the family are protected.

Common Causes of Dog Bites to Kids

Dogs bite for a multitude of reasons, but the most common causes are feelings of fear and stress from the animal, provoked or unprovoked. A playful cry or noise from a child or baby may be misinterpreted by the animal as distress. A toddler may not understand how to interact with a dog properly, playfully pulling the dog's ears or tail unknowingly hurting the animal, and unable to realize the warning signs of a scared dog before it's too late. A young child may simply be in the same room as a dog when it hears a loud sound from the TV that frightens the animal, unknowingly provoking it to attack the nearest person. Whether innocently provoked or not, an interaction with a seemingly friendly canine can quickly turn into a severe or fatal accident. In May 2019, for example, a 14-year old boy was mauled to death in Dighton, Massachusetts by dogs he was taking care of while the owner was out of town. Even though the boy was familiar with both the animals and their owner, he was fatally injured. This is not uncommon, as 77% of dogs who attack are familiar with the victim in some way. No matter how or where the incident happens, it is important that the families of children who suffer from animal related accidents in Massachusetts and Rhode Island seek advice from an experienced dog bite lawyer like David Tapalian to make a claim against the responsible party and make the best possible case to achieve compensation for those who are suffering.

RI Dog Bite Law

Laws surrounding dog bite injuries vary from state to state. Any dog that attacks a person while unprovoked is considered vicious under Rhode Island law. When a dog is declared vicious, the owner has an obligation to make sure the dog is "confined in an enclosure" so that it may not harm others. When these precautions are not taken and the law is not followed, serious harm can result for which the owner can be held liable. See variances on our Rhode Island Dog Bite and Massachusetts Dog Bite pages.

Consult an Attorney for Your Child's Dog Bite Injury

Dog attacks can have long lasting effects on a person's life, particularly for a child. A child may be less capable of processing the emotional trauma and have fears that remain, and change in form, as they grow older. Don't waste time in getting help for your child and minimize the tragic effects that this could have on your child's growth. Rhode Island Dog Bite Attorney David Tapalian has been helping victims of personal injury all over RI and MA for over 20 years. If your child was injured by a friend's dog, a neighbor's dog, or an unleashed dog, you may be eligible to hold the owner liable and seek compensation for your damages including medical expenses, hospital bills, surgeries, physical therapy, cognitive therapy, future procedures, and pain and suffering. Particularly in the case of a very young person, it is critical that future treatment costs are taken into consideration by your attorney. If you have lost a child in a tragic dog bite accident, you may be eligible to file a wrongful death claim to seek compensation for burial expenses, funeral expenses, and pain and suffering. Contact Tapalian Law at 401-552-5000 for a free consultation, or reach us online. With offices in Providence, RI, Warwick, RI, and Seekonk, MA, we are ready to help you today.

Client Reviews
He took care of everything and kept me updated as well. It was such a smooth process and in the end I won my case. I would highly recommend David Tapalian! Patrice F.
When I contacted David Tapalian, Attorney & Counselor at Law, all my worries were immediately alleviated. He handled my case from beginning to end and kept me updated every step of the way. Susie M.
I visited David a couple of days after my accident and he gave me clear and concise details on what would happen throughout the process... David N.