Dog Atttack – Elements of a Settlement Demand

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Doug Landau has recently concluded a number of dog bite and dog attack cases. Most of these dog bite cases involve young children. Every 40 seconds, someone in the United States seeks medical attention for a dog-bite related injury.

We currently have cases pending in Connecticut, New Jersey and Virginia. We have represented Postal Workers, Police Officers, FedEx Deliverymen, Real Estate Saleswomen and grandmothers in dog attack cases. Dog attacks cause 4.5 million injuries each year; 800,000 of those injuries require medical attention. Sometime they are more serious than just requiring medical attention. Last year, a Spotsylvania County, Virginia woman was sentenced to three years in prison for involuntary manslaughter after her three pet Pit Bull Dogs mauled an 82-year-old neighbor to death.

Because of their trusting nature, inexperience and perhaps small size, children seem particularly at risk for these dangerous dog attacks. Dog bites pose a greater health risk for children than mumps, measles, and whooping cough combined. Herndon Virginia personal injury lawyer Doug Landau of ABRAMS LANDAU, Ltd., shows you what elements are important for settling a case with the Homeowners Insurance Company in these premises liability cases where a dog attacks a child:

Start with the “who, what, where, how and why.” Just like a good journalist, it is important to set forth the relevant facts right at the start. Be brief, and to the point. For example:

On May 28, 2004, our client, Baby Boo, was an invited guest at your insured’s residence over the Memorial Day Weekend. Within minutes of arrival, 2-year-old Boo was attacked, pinned to the ground and bitten in the face by your insured’s dog.

She was covered in blood and her face was swollen after the attack. This was an unprovoked and unexpected attack by a dog that weighed more than she did, as evidenced by the location of the bites. She received 17 sutures under her left eye and on her cheek. An ambulance transported the terrified child and her mother to the Hospital, screaming all the way to the Emergency Room. There was a long wait, and then treatment for her injuries. The child endured physical pain, mental anguish, apprehension of rabies, and now a lifelong fear of animals after this attack. She was not released until after dark. She was put on strong medications.

Her pediatrician removed the sutures. Even years after this vicious attack, Boo still has a fear of dogs, as recounted by Dr. Mary Peter of the Hospital Psychology Department. Almost a year after this attack, Dr. Jones noted: the scarring on her right cheek and lower eyelid, that the area was reddened, and told her mother that she was a surgical candidate for scar revision that would cost over $3,000.00.

Clients often ask if there is some “magic formula” for valuing dog attack cases. There is not. Every case is different, just as every person is unique. Doug Landau and the team at ABRAMS LANDAU, Ltd. researches verdicts from the local courts where the dog bite attack occurred and compares them to the events of the particular case. This helps predict likely jury verdict ranges. For a recent Virginia case, we enclosed a collection of dog attack verdicts and settlements from Virginia Lawyers Weekly which demonstrate that juries and courts consider these cases to be situations of aggravated liability and exponential damages.

Doug Landau also likes to point out the long-term consequences of a Defendant’s negligence and the repercussions of their dog’s attack. In the recent dog attack case outside Richmond, he pointed out that:
“Under Virginia Code section 8.01-419, my young client has a life expectancy of 72.6 years. She will be haunted by this attack for the rest of her life.”

Dog bites and dog attacks can be terrifying and scarring events. In order to get the best result in settlement negotiations, it is important to investigate the facts, know the laws and present a strong, logical, brief, relevant and compelling case. If you or a loved one has been attacked or mauled by a dog or other animal, call us (703-796-9555) or email us at Abrams Landau, Ltd.

One response on “Dog Atttack – Elements of a Settlement Demand

  1. Melissa Landau

    Doug’s energy never ceases to amaze, even me. Especially me!

    Many of us are looking forward to the Monument Ave. 10k with the Triathlon Trial Lawyer.

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