Justice System Isn’t Necessarily a Dog Bite Victim’s Friend

Don’t assume that getting mauled by a dog can be made right by the justice system. Our civil laws cannot dispense heavenly justice, but only can shift losses from the victim to the wrongdoer. When the wrongdoer is uninsured, however, the justice system is ineffective — worse, it protects the wrongdoer by allowing him to declare bankruptcy.

All day long I hear from dog bite victims, because my law practice is 100% devoted to representing them. Most of the time, the owners of the very dangerous dogs do not have insurance and I have to tell the victim that his only remedy is restitution if the dog owner is criminally prosecuted and the prosecutor has proper regard for the victim (which cannot be relied upon). Restitution, however, provides only reimbursement for out-of-pocket costs, but nothing for pain and suffering. The victim’s doctor get paid, but not her. That’s not justice.

The solution for this problem is to require dog owners to have insurance, and to prevent insurance companies from excluding injuries caused by dogs, or providing lower monetary limits when accidents are caused by dogs. Our legislatures need to enact laws to make this happen. That would mean standing up to the insurance industry. If the people insist, it will happen.