Los Angeles, Calif. — Managing Partner, Samer Habbas of the Law Offices of Samer Habbas & Associates obtained full policy limits of $400,000 on a dog bite case. The claimant was walking along the sidewalk through a residential neighborhood when one of the residents opened their front door and allowed their dog to run outside. The dog darted out of the home and began to chase the claimant. In an attempt to evade the dog, the claimant ran across the street. As he was doing so the dog lunged at him and bit him in the leg. Panicked, the claimant jumped into the back of a pickup truck. While doing so, he dislocated his knee.
Our client was transported to the emergency room by ambulance with complaints of right knee pain with numbness and a cold feeling to his right foot. A physical examination revealed right foot coldness and numbness, and lack of distal pulse in the right leg.
It was found that our client suffered an acute arterial occlusion, which is when blood flow in a leg artery stops suddenly—this is considered a vascular emergency and requires immediate medical attention. Following this diagnosis, our client was yet again transferred by ambulance to a nearby trauma center. Due to the small size of the vessels in the ankle and the concern for thrombus (blood clot) within the small arteries of the right foot, a more extensive examination was required. The claimant was redlined to the operating room for vascular surgery. The procedure, a right lower extremity diagnostic angiogram, revealed acute limb ischemia—caused by the acute arterial occlusion.
As a result of the incident, our client has suffered—and will continue to suffer—extreme emotional, physical, and financial damages. The claimant was only 18 when he was attacked. He had his whole life ahead of him, with substantial career plans in place. The dog bite attack left him in fear of all dogs, which is unfortunate being that he owns two dogs.
The owner of the dog is a proximate cause of this attack and our client’s sufferings, as they stood idly by while their dog chased after our client. The defendant took no preventative actions to keep their dog from being able to attack innocent bystanders. At first, the defense tried to argue that our client’s injuries were inflicted on himself as he was trying to escape the dog. However, several witnesses were able to attest that his injuries were caused by the dog. The photos and medical reports alone display the serious injuries and extensive damages our client has suffered due to the dog owner’s negligence.
Habbas filed a dog bite claim against the defendant through their homeowner’s insurance. In California, dog bites can be covered by homeowners insurance. Although, some insurance carriers require homeowners to manually opt into dog bite coverage, and some dog bite coverage policies exclude certain breeds altogether. The dog that attacked our client was a pitbull. Pitbulls are commonly not covered by homeowners insurance. Fortunately, Habbas found that the breed was covered under the defendant’s dog bite coverage policy.
The facts Habbas presented within the demand left no room for the defense to argue the value of the case. Due to his aggressive and skillful approach, Habbas was able to settle the case in pre-litigation and tender the full policy limits of $400,000.