Several months ago, Dwyer Williams Dretke PC was contacted by the mother of a young girl who was attacked and bitten by her neighbor’s dog. The girl’s mother sought an attorney well-versed in dog bite liability to represent her injured daughter and to seek damages against the dog’s owner. After hearing the details of the attack, we immediately took the case: our client is a young girl who was suddenly attacked by an unleashed dog roaming in her quiet Eastern Oregon neighborhood. The dog approached our client and bit her while she was riding her bicycle near her home.
Dog bite injuries have the potential to be very serious, especially because the majority of dog bite victims are young children like our client. Dogs attack children instead of adults because children are less commanding and less threatening than adults: dogs treat children like playmates or prey, not masters. Children also move quickly and erratically, which can trigger dogs to herd and attack them according to their natural canine instincts.
This case was a reminder that dog bite injuries have the potential to maim, disfigure, traumatize, and even kill the most vulnerable members of our society with little if any provocation on the victims’ part. In this case, our client did absolutely nothing to encourage the wayward dog’s attention or aggression. She was the quintessential victim, who suffered physical as well as emotional trauma as the result of her neighbor’s failure to contain a potentially aggressive pet.
Interestingly, in this case the dog’s owner assumed responsibility for the accident right away yet she adamantly refused to turn the matter over to her insurance company. As our client’s expert dog bite attorneys we obtained copies of all documents related to the injuries sustained by our client and disseminated them to all interested parties. These documents included the girl’s medical records, the bills that her family incurred during her treatment, and the report our client filed with Animal Control.
The case settled for a generous sum after determined communication with the dog owner. We urged that she turn over the claim to her insurer several times, both in writing and on the telephone, to no avail until we threatened a personal lawsuit. The matter was then quickly resolved by the insurance company. Our client received a favorable settlement that covered her medical bills and compensated her for the pain and suffering that she endured as the victim of a dog owner’s negligence.