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Dog Bite Cases

Dog Bite on Face Leaves Man with Scarring and Emotional Damage – Sues under Dog Bite Law

During the summer of 2005, Plaintiff was bitten on the face, neck and head by the 75-pound dog of his brother and sister-in-law while visiting them at their home in Stone Harbor.

Plaintiff suffered an approximately 5-inch wound to his right cheek, including his upper and lower lip on the side of his mouth. Emergency surgery was performed to close the wound. Thereafter, the plaintiff treated with his family physician and then underwent physical therapy to treat the scar for seven weeks.

In addition to his physical injuries, Plaintiff claimed that the dog bite caused him depression and anxiety. He complained of nightmares and flashbacks, and he sought treatment with a psychologist 18 months after the accident. The psychologist reported that the plaintiff’s mental suffering was attributable to the deterioration of his relationship with his brother that resulted from the lawsuit.

Plaintiff sued his brother and sister-in-law under theories of strict liability and negligence.  The plaintiff sought damages for pain and suffering, medical bills and wage loss.  The defendants denied liability and alleged that any injuries the plaintiff sustained were the result of his own negligence.

The plaintiff’s plastic surgery expert, and the defendant’s orthopedic and plastic surgery expert, agreed that Plaintiff had sustained tissue loss but that the wound had healed completely with minimal to no neural damage. Both experts also agreed that although there was no functional deficit, there was some permanent scarring. One expert recommended that fillers be injected to improve the patient’s appearance.

In a non-binding arbitration, Stephen Plaintiff was awarded damages in the amount of $124,336. Neither the plaintiff nor the defendants appealed the award, so the court entered it as a final judgment.

Severe Leg Injury for Grandmother Protecting Granddaughter from Dog Attack

Plaintiff was at the home of her cousins for a barbecue when their dog, half German Shepherd and half pit bull, attacked her. She was holding her granddaughter in her lap when the dog approached her without warning. Plaintiff turned her body to shield the baby from the dog, and it jumped onto her right hip with its front paws. The baby’s leg was scratched, but she was otherwise unharmed.

Plaintiff held her granddaughter above her head as high as possible as the dog locked its jaws into her right leg between the calf and ankle. She eventually handed the baby to a relative.  The dog would not release its grip until finally someone hit the animal with a shovel.

Plaintiff was taken to University Hospital by Newark police. She was in shock following the attack and had significant exposed muscle, nerve and bone from large lacerations of the right leg. The dog had even shattered the plaintiff’s tibial shaft with its teeth. On Sept. 9, 2005, Plaintiff underwent surgery to repair 9 wounds that circled her lower leg. A split-thickness graft was taken from her upper right thigh to cover areas where muscle tissue had been removed.

Plaintiff has residual nerve damage, swelling, and visible scarring that is depressed and hyper pigmented.  The plaintiff sometimes requires the use of a cane. According to her attorney, she will require additional plastic surgery.

Plaintiff subsequently sued the homeowners insurance carrier, Contributorship Insurance Co. of Philadelphia, for premises liability.  Although she was unemployed at the time of the accident, Plaintiff had substantial experience as a social worker. She estimated her lost wages to be between $60,000 and $80,000. She claimed that she is unable to return to work.

Additionally, Plaintiff claimed that she suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and depression after the attack. She underwent psychotherapy for stress and depression, and because she fears future attacks, Plaintiff carries spray repellant for dogs and takes precautions to avoid encounters with dogs.

Prior to jury selection in the Essex County Superior Court, the defendants’ insurance carrier settled the suit with Plaintiff for $490,000. The defendants’ policy had a $500,000 cap. The insurance carrier had made an initial payment to the plaintiff of $5,000 for immediate medical expenses, bringing the total settlement amount to $495,000.

Child Loses Part of Finger, Sustains Other Serious Injuries and Scarring in Dog Bite Attack

In November of 2004, Plaintiff, 9, was bitten in the face, hand and arm by a Boxer/Doberman mix owned by a friend of plaintiff’s sister.  The plaintiff’s school was closed for the day in observance of Veterans Day. Plaintiff was visiting the defendants’ home with her older sister, who was working on a school project with the defendants’ daughter. Plaintiff’s counsel contended that plaintiff told the older girls she was going into the backyard to play. She was attacked in the yard by the defendants’ dog.

The plaintiff was taken to Jersey Shore University Medical Center following the attack. She sustained an avulsion of the middle finger of her left, non-dominant, hand. The tip was bitten off and was never located. The dog also bit her face and her right arm. She had numerous stitches at all injury sites, and she has severe scarring. Following the accident, plaintiff claimed to have emotional distress and that she had difficulty sleeping.

Plaintiff’s mother sued the defendants as plaintiff’s guardian ad litem under New Jersey’s strict liability Dog Bite Statute.  The Dog Bite Statute requires proof that there was a bite, that the defendant owned the dog and that the plaintiff was not trespassing at the time of injury.  The defendants claimed that plaintiff had not asked for permission to go into the backyard, and that plaintiff exceeded the scope of her invitation when she entered the yard and further, that she may have provoked the dog.

Prior to a trial on damages, the plaintiff settled with the defendants insurance provider, Travelers, for $250,000.

Dog Bite on Face of Band Member Affects Career; Mediator Awards Large Settlement

In May of 2006, plaintiff, the lead guitarist in a heavy metal rock band, was visiting his girlfriend at her Bergenfield home when her 40-pound, mixed-breed dog jumped into his lap, licked his face and bit his nose.  The next day, Plaintiff treated in an emergency room for a gash on his nose and two punctures in his upper lip.  The nose scar could not be repaired with plastic surgery and plaintiff suffered nerve damage to the upper lip, which affected his speech, his song voice, and inhibited his ability to voluntarily raise his upper lip.  After the incident, Plaintiff started applying makeup to the scars when he performed with his band.

Plaintiff sued his girlfriend, claiming $5,000 in medical bills plus pain and suffering.  A few weeks earlier, the dog underwent leg surgery and was sensitive in that area. Defendant also failed to inform her boyfriend that the dog had previously bitten another dog.

In New Jersey, a dog bite is strict liability. The defense did not contest liability or argue for comparative negligence, nor did they contest the nose injury or the extent of the scarring. Instead, the defendants retained an expert cosmetic surgeon to say that further surgery could reduce the scarring.

The parties mediated the case and eventually settled the dispute for $375,000.

Landscaper Attacked by German Shepherds Sues under Strict Liability Dog Bite Law

In 2007 Plaintiff was working for a temporary landscaping agency at the home of defendant in Princeton Township when he was bitten by the defendants’ five German shepherds.

Plaintiff suffered bite marks from his lower legs to the top of his head, including a deep wound to his right thigh, which had to remain open to allow dog saliva to drain out. In addition, he had numerous stitches on his head and legs.  He was hospitalized for 2 days. Plaintiff missed 4 weeks of work. Plaintiff has scarring on his thigh. Plastic surgery will cost approximately $15,000 according to plaintiff’s counsel. Plaintiff incurred medical bills of around $26,000.

Plaintiff sued the defendants on a dog bite theory. Plaintiff’s attorney claimed that the defendants allowed their dogs to roam free in their backyard. Plaintiff had permission from the defendants to be on the property at the time.

The matter was settled pre-suit with defendants’ insurer, Chubb, for $250,000. The defendants also agreed to pay off plaintiff’s worker’s compensation lien.

Pit Bull Escapes From Yard and Mauls Elderly Gentlemen

In early 2007 in Sayreville, NJ, an elderly gentlemen was walking on a side street when a pit bull terrier escaped from it’s owner’s yard and attacked the man, mauling him.  The man suffered wound to his head and face, injuries which required a plastic surgeon to repair and left him with permanent scarring.  He also suffered from post traumatic stress disorder after the accident.  Plaintiff sued for his injuries and his wife added a claim for loss of consortium.

The man sued the owner of the dog in Middlesex County Superior Court.  Defendant’s insurance company, High Point, decided to settle this matter without litigating and paid the plaintiff $215, 000.

Myofascial Pain syndrome Result From Dog Bite Injury

In the Spring of 2004 a man was walking on the sidewalk when a large mixed breed dog approached from behind and bit him on the thigh, piercing his leg.  He was treated and released for his injuries, but later suffered from pain in the area of the bite when performing daily activities.  These stabs of pain were diagnosed by plaintiff’s expert at trial as myofascial pain syndrome, a nerve injury that his permanent.

Plaintiff sued the dog’s owner in Passaic County Superior Court, alleging negligence.  The defendant denied liability, and even denied that an attack had occurred.  The court found that the defendant was liable prior to trial by way of a summary judgment motion, and the case proceeded on damages only.  The jury believed plaintiff and his expert, and awarded $75,000 in damages, which was paid by All State, the defendant’s insurer.

Dog With Known Vicious Tendencies Bites 10 Year Old, Owner Liable

In the summer of 2004, the plaintiff, a 10 year old boy, was injured when he was attacked by a German Shepard, owned by the defendants.  In fact, the defendant property and dog owner had called the boy into the yard to speak with him, and the boy was throwing a ball to the dog to fetch when the attack occurred.  The boy sustained injuries on his right arm and hand which left permanent scarring.  Evidence in the form of city records showed that the dog had known vicious tendencies and had bitten other people previously.

Plaintiff, via his family, sued the property/dog owner for negligence and premises liability.  The defendants denied liability and claimed that the boy brought the attack on himself.  A Hudson County Superior Court judge determined that the defendant’s insurance carrier was not responsible for covering the claim due to an error in the policy, yet the case settled prior to trial for $13,000.

Negligent Supervision of Child Results in Horrific Dog Attack

In the summer of 2000, an 18 month old girl was being watched by her grandmother and great aunt.  The aunt, who was also watching to Rottweiler owned by the defendant, went outside to feed them, and the little girl followed.  Tragically, she was attacked by the animals and suffered severe and permanent injuries.  She was bitten on the face, and the attack cost her her left ear.  Additionally, her jaw was broken and she suffered significant muscle damage on her face, as well as massive scarring in the area of the bite.  She underwent multiple surgeries in an attempt to correct the injuries and minimize the scarring.  She is left with problems with her eye and her mouth, speech problems, extensive scarring, and will require even more surgery in the future.

The girl’s family sued both the great aunt and the dogs’ owner.  They alleged that the aunt negligently supervised the child, and that the dogs were dangerous animals that were not properly restrained.  The case was filed in Essex County Superior Court.  The parties eventually reached a settlement, wherein a trust was created for the young plaintiff and funded with $1.5 million dollars from the defendants’ insurance carriers.

Failure to Restrain Golden Retriever Leads To Attack Of 8 Year Old Girl

In August of 2004, a father and his 8 year old daughter were visiting friends at their home when a golden retriever, owned by the friends, attacked the little girl.  She was bitten on the face, which resulted in a serious injury, and permanent scarring.  She also suffered emotional distress from the attack.

Her parents sued on her behalf, seeking damages for her medical treatment and pain and suffering.  They alleged that the defendants were negligent in failing to restrain the dog in any way.  Defendants claimed that the dog had no known dangerous tendencies, and denied liability.  Their insurer, Nationwide, settled with the plaintiffs prior to trial in the amount of $175,000.

Dog Walker Bitten by Pitt Bull That Held on for 15 Minutes

The plaintiff in this case worked as a dog walker at an animal hospital in North Bergen, New Jersey.  The attack involved a pit bull.  At the time of the accident, evidence showed that the worker allowed the dog out of its cage to roam free, despite written and oral warnings that the dog was only to be handled by certain experts at the facility and only with a choke collar.  The attack resulted in serious and permanent injuries to the plaintiff.

Plaintiff sued the owner and her employer for her injuries.  She brought her claim under the dog bite statute, which says in relevant part, “the owner of any dog which shall bite a person while such person is on or in a public place, or lawfully on or in a private place, including the property of the owner of the dog, shall be liable for such damages as may be suffered by the person bitten, regardless of the former viciousness of such dog or the owner’s knowledge of such viciousness.” N.J.S.A. 4:19-16.  Her claim against her employer was dismissed.

The defense maintained that the pit bull had no prior history of biting any person, and that Ortiz had warned personnel at the hospital that the dog was to only be handled by trained male handlers and be separated from other dogs, conditions to which the hospital orally agreed. Defense counsel noted that the resident veterinarian testified that all employees were notified and signs were taped to the enclosure housing the dog warning that only certain male handlers were to handle Zeba. The defense contended that the plaintiff, who was not on the hospital premises when the dog arrived, was called by telephone and alerted not to handle the dog by the co-worker. The defense contended that the plaintiff admitted ignoring the warnings and letting the dog out of his enclosure to run free without a choke collar leash because she felt sorry for him.

The plaintiff denied receiving any warnings about the dog, or that warnings were posted on the dog’s enclosure.

The Court granted a motion for a directed verdict and the plaintiff recovered nothing.

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