$300,000 Nashville Dog Bite Settlement

July 19 2023 | Nashville Dog Bite Lawyer Blog
  • Nashville dog bite lawyer settlement

    The Hughes & Coleman team recently obtained a $300,000 settlement for a Tennessee woman who was severely injured in a dog attack. The incident, which occurred in a rural town outside of Nashville, Tennessee, required multiple surgeries and extensive medical treatment.

    Tennessee Dog Bite Leads to Hospitalization

    The attack occurred in September 2022 in a rural town roughly 30 minutes outside of Nashville. Our client decided to make the most of a beautiful summer afternoon and go for a walk. As she often did, our client made her way around the neighborhood before heading back towards her home and passed a neighboring house with a dog in its yard.

    Suddenly and entirely unprovoked, the dog charged at our client and began viciously attacking her. It sunk its teeth into our client, taking a chunk of skin and flesh the size of a dollar bill from her lower leg, causing severe lacerations and trauma.

    Nearby, two individuals doing renovations on the dog owner’s home noticed the attack and came to intervene. They brandished sticks and were able to corral the attacking dog. However, significant physical damage had already been done. Our client was left bleeding profusely and missing a significant portion of her right leg, just above the ankle.

    Police and EMS were dispatched and discovered the gruesome scene. Emergency personnel quickly determined that our client’s injuries were “trauma level” and required immediate surgery. She was rushed to the hospital, where the wound was cleaned, sewn, and stapled shut. However, after a scan revealed vein damage and a tear in our client’s Achilles tendon, her doctors revealed that her condition would require surgery, as well as several skin grafts.

    In addition to physical surgeries, and making matters worse, the client soon learned that the dog was not up to date on its vaccinations. Thus, on top of all physical trauma our client sustained, she now had to worry about disease or infection setting in. She quickly received a rabies vaccine along with her other treatments.

    Shortly after the attack, our client underwent her first surgery – one of many that would be necessary to begin repairing the significant damage to her leg.

    After Initial Treatment

    Less than two months after the attack occurred, our client had already undergone four surgeries to attempt to heal the dog bite. The treatment and healing process continued to be grueling. She was in pain, unable to work, and living with an open wound. The injury required extensive care and had to be thoroughly cleaned, scrubbed, and dressed each day. Our client’s doctor advised the road to recovery was going to be long, and that the wound would need to be healed from the inside out. With medical bills piling up, our client needed compensation to cover her medical expenses. She reached out to the Hughes & Coleman team, and we began working to obtain information and unravel the complicated task of determining fault.

    Determining Fault

    The owner of the dog was not home at the time of the attack; she had left that morning. Additionally, the dog was not loose when the owner left the house. According to the police report filed, multiple witnesses attested that the dog was secured on the homeowner’s property the morning of the attack. However, the home was under renovation at the time, and a contractor working on the basement of the home allegedly let the dog out. Once freed, the dog was able to attack our client.

    This complicated the matter of determining fault. If the homeowner was not home at the time of the attack and had left her dog secured on her property, was she responsible for the injuries that occurred while she was away?

    The district attorney didn’t seem to think so. She advised police that criminal charges would not be filed against the owner of the dog, as she was not home at the time of the attack. Furthermore, the police report went as far as to claim the dog owner was not at fault. Regardless, our team knew our client needed help, and we were determined to find a solution to get the compensation she needed.

    Leveraging a suit against the contractor who allegedly let the dog loose was not an option, as there was no vicarious liability. The dog getting loose was not an action the contractor made on behalf of his employer, meaning neither he nor his employer could be held responsible for our client’s injuries. That’s where our team of Nashville personal injury attorneys came in.

    Hughes & Coleman Gets it Done

    Nashville attorney Matt McFarland, along with the rest of our experienced Nashville dog bite legal team, began searching for an insurance policy that would cover our client’s extensive injuries. The owner of the dog swore under oath that she was renting the property and did not have renter’s insurance. Without a renter’s insurance policy on file, our client’s options to obtain compensation would be severely limited if no other insurance was available. Our team kept digging, searching for any viable policies in place that could help our client. After multiple attempts to uncover a policy to no avail, the outcome was beginning to look grim. It seemed there was no coverage that would be able to help our client and ensure she had the financial compensation needed for her injuries. However, after thorough research, a potential solution was found.

    Hughes & Coleman’s Nashville team discovered that the dog owner was ‘renting’ from her own mother, who also lived on the property and had knowledge of the dog. While the owner of the dog may not have had renter’s insurance, her mother did have a lapsed homeowner’s policy on the property that could help cover our client’s bills. Even though the policy had lapsed by the time the client contacted our firm, Matt and his paralegal Toneia were able to determine that the policy had been in effect at the time of the attack. Additionally, despite the police investigation, neither the dog owner nor the homeowner had reported the claim to their insurance company, so they were completely unaware of our client’s injuries. Matt and our legal team demanded policy limits due to the extent of the client’s injuries and her need for ongoing care. The insurance company eventually relented, and we obtained a $300,000 settlement for our client’s pain and suffering.

    Matt McFarland, the attorney in charge of this case, was pleased with the outcome we were able to obtain. ”The dog owner had sworn under penalty of perjury that there was no insurance, and two other searches had come up with nothing due to the policy being lapsed. This was an absolute Hail Mary of a case, but anyone watching UT/Georgia in 2016 knows that sometimes Hail Marys connect, and we absolutely did on this case.”

    What to Know about Nashville Dog Bites

    While most consider dogs to be a man’s best friend, the hard truth is that some dogs are aggressive and can cause serious injuries, or even death, when they attack. In Nashville, dog bites are among one of the most common personal injury claims, and the value of dog bite claims continues to rise.

    An estimated 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs each year in the United States. While some dog bite injuries may not be severe, others can result in thousands of dollars in medical treatments, and many dog bites that may seem minor can easily become more serious. In fact, according to the CDC, nearly 1 in 5 dog bites require medical attention. Furthermore, approximately 1,000 Americans require emergency care due to a dog bite injury each day, according to statistics published by DogBites.org.

    Our client knew the road to recovery would be difficult. Fighting or negotiating with the insurance company while healing from her dog bite injury was out of the question. She knew she would be in and out of surgery for the foreseeable future, and her wound would require near-constant care until it fully healed. Rather than attempt to resolve this issue alone, our client chose to trust our team to represent her. We obtained medical bills, searched high and low for a policy that would cover the incident, and negotiated with the insurance company to get the best possible outcome for her.

    If you’ve been hurt by a dog bite in or around Nashville, our dog bite injury lawyers can help. We have experienced dog bite legal team members who are knowledgeable on the extent of the damage an aggressive dog can cause, and we’re ready to fight to get you the compensation you deserve. Get Hughes & Coleman and Get It Done! Contact our Nashville dog bite lawyers today at 800-800-4600 or submit a free dog bite case evaluation.

     

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