"My four-year-old son was attacked by a Rottweiler. The dog owner rents her home and recently filed for bankruptcy. We are struggling to pay all of the bills, and my son now is afraid of dogs and he has scars. Is this true justice? Any suggestions would be welcome!"
I receive e-mail messages like this every single day. Here is what I have to tell parents:
"I am sorry to say this, but you are not going to be able to get anything for your son. What you do not realize, and what the public does not realize, is that our lawmakers have already decided that this is Justice.
"What do I mean? We let everybody have a dog, even a pit bull or Rottweiler, without demanding that they show proof of insurance. So, when a person gets bitten and there is no insurance to cover it, the victim suffers and the dog owner is completely unscathed unless the animal control department imposes a fine (which is rare, and the fines are small). The victim has to pay the medical, ambulance and other bills, and the dog owner has to pay nothing. This is Justice, according to our lawmakers.
"Why does this happen? The insurance industry announces every year that only 15,000 to 16,000 Americans are being compensated through insurance policies for homeowners and renters, despite the fact that around 400,000 Americans go to the emergency room every year because of dog bites, 800,000 Americans are bitten by dogs every year, and 30 to 35 Americans are killed by dogs every year. Those of us who study this problem are appalled by it. For more than a decade, I and other experts have been asking lawmakers to to pass laws which would require insurance on the part of dog owners. Except in rare instances, our lawmakers have declined to do so. So the fact of the matter is that our lawmakers have decided that what is happening to your son and your family is Justice.
"If you want to do something about it, you have to contact your lawmakers and tell them that you think this is not Justice, that dog owners have to provide proof of insurance just like car owners do."