This case was a terrible dog (pit bull) attack to the left arm of a very nice young lady who was a SDSU college student. When I was first contacted for this case, I remember thinking this is why owning dangerous breeds can be completely irresponsible. My client was tutoring two minor children in the open garage of a home in an El Cajon neighborhood. Suddenly, a neighbor's dog, that was loose without the control of a leash, charged them inside the garage. The two kids, and my client, made it inside the home through the garage door, but so did the attacking dog. My client ran upstairs, and the dog continued his chase, and eventually attacked her while the two kids made it safely to another bedroom. The vicious dog bit her right arm causing severe tissue damage.
My client was taken to Sharp Grossmont Hospital where she stayed overnight because they tried to reattach the skin via surgery to the arm. My client received a total of three surgeries for medical repair of her lacerated arm, the last one being performed on June 26, 2015. She then underwent three additional surgeries with a local plastic surgeon, Dr. Munish Batra, MD, which included skin expansions. This unfortunate incident was extremely debilitating to her, and her family. She had to withdraw from classes at San Diego State University, where she was a senior. Fortunately, through determination and positive focus she has strived through this hardship.
One good thing is that the dog-owner was a homeowner with homeowner's insurance that had at least $500,000.00 in liability, with a $5,000.00 medical pay benefit attached to it. So the dog owner was responsible enough to have available insurance, which is not the case in every dog attack and bite. I was able to navigate the injury claim, pre-lawsuit, by framing my client's story through her medical care, and her struggle to come to terms with the reality that her arm will be different than what it was before the incident. By doing everything pre-lawsuit, I was able to save my client a substantial amount of money which would have gone to not only lawsuit expenses, but also to experts and litigation work up expenses. So, strategy-wise, it is good to frame your injured client's case strongly in the beginning so you can save money later for items that are not necessarily needed in the beginning. A good injury lawyer will be able to explain this technique and execute it with confidence. I got the policy limits for my client, and negotiated down the medical care to help maximize her net recovery from the policy limit proceeds. I just wish people would think twice about owning a pet, especially a vicious breed.