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lawpro, Lawyer
Category: Landlord-Tenant
Satisfied Customers: 24870
Experience:  Over 20 years experience handling landlord tenant problems for commercial and residential.
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My sister was walking her dog, when all the sudden, she and

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My sister was walking her dog, when all the sudden, she and her dog were attacked by a very large dog. This dog was on a leash tied to a tree but when it launched at my sister and her dog, the leash easily came off. My sister's dog suffered major injury with a vet bill so far up to $1,200, and my sister had cuts and bruises but no hospital bill. My sister is traumatized, however. She demanded the owner of the dog to pay $3,000, the vet bill plus her trauma, however, the owner refuses to pay. So my sister wants to take him to small claims court. Neither my sister nor her dog did anything to instigate this attack. What is the right amount of money she should be suing him for? Thanks for your advice.

A "vicious dog" is:

  • a dog that, when unprovoked, in an aggressive manner kills or inflicts a severe injury on a person. A severe injury is a physical injury that results in muscle tears or disfiguring lacerations or requires multiple sutures or corrective cosmetic surgery.
  • A vicious dog also includes a dog that has previously been determined to be potentially dangerous and continues its dangerous behavior.

Legal Responsibilities of Owners of Potentially Dangerous and Vicious Dogs

  • Owners must confine potentially dangerous and vicious dogs in an enclosure that prevents the dog from escaping, and that also prevents children from trespassing.
  • A dangerous dog is permitted off the owner's property, only if it is restrained by a substantial leash, of appropriate length, and if it is under the control of a responsible adult.

When a potentially dangerous dog injures a person, the owner is liable under the Dog Bite Statute and also faces a fine up to $500. When a vicious dog injures a person, the owner is liable under the Dog Bite Statute and also faces a fine up to $1,000.



So, what I would inform her to do is file a complaint with the police and let them handle the matter criminally. Let the District Attorney prosecute them criminally.


She can also file a civil suit. But, if the owner is found criminally liable found or pleads guilty - all she is arguing about in civil court are her damages.


As to what amount of damages?



Here is an evaluation form that she should use - she should consider her dog as part of her damages and the amount of their injuries.




___I. Medical Expenses

- if injury can be objectively proven (ie. broken bone) X 2, 3, 4 or 5 depending on length of time to heal

- if existence of previous injury reduce above factor

- if healed within 2 months with no residual problems use low figure such as 2 or 3 OR 4 or 5 if took 1 year or more to heal

___A. Physician's Fees

___B. Consultation with Specialist

___C. Cost of Hospitalization

___1. room and board

___2. special examinations and procedures

___3. medicines and drugs

___4. special nursing

___D. Surgeon's Fee

___E. Cost of Orthopedic Appliance

___F. Cost of Medicines and Drugs

___G. Ambulance Fee

___H. Cost of Nursing at Home

___I. Future Medical Expenses


___II. Loss of Earnings

- worst scenario is only the loss of actual wages but if well documented along with medical reports then X 2, 3 or 4 depending upon time of recovery

___A. Loss of Salary

___B. Future Loss of Salary

___C. Loss of Capacity to Earn Increased Wages


___III. Loss of Profits

___A. Loss of Actual Profits

___B. Loss of Contracts

___C. Loss of Credit and Reputation

___D. Loss of Investment Earnings

___IV. Loss of Consortium

___V. Loss of Nurture

___VI. Loss of Service

___A. Loss of Household Service From Injured

___B. Loss of Minor's Services

___VII. Pain & Suffering

___A. Pain and Suffering From Physical Injuries

___B. Pain and Suffering Likely to Occur in the Future

___VIII. Mental Anguish

___A. Loss of Appetite

___B. Loss of Sleep

___C. Anxiety and Depression

___D. Fright and Shock

___E. Humiliation and embarrassment

___F. Loss of Ability to Engage in Recreational Activities

___IX. Loss of Avocational Skills

___X. Past and future Impairment of Ability to Enjoy Life

- if permanent impairment is stated in terms of percentage then $1,000 or $2,000 per percentage point of impairment

- if no permanent impairment assessment but indication that the injury has some degree of permanency $500 to $1,000 for each decade of client's remaining life expectancy


___XI. Harm From Prolonged Inactivity

___XII. Cost of Physical Effect on House

___XIII. Interruption of Education

___XIV. Shortage of Life Expectancy

___XV. Legal Fees and Costs

___XVI. Prejudgment Interest

___XVII. Property Damage


___XVIII. Transportation Costs

___XIX. Exemplary or Punitive Damages

___XX. Loss of Employment or Self-Employment Benefit Plan

___A. Loss of Pension Plan

___B. Loss of Health and Welfare Benefits

___XXI. Child Care Costs

* add the value of the tangible figure of I, II, X & XVII plus another 20% to 50% and then ask yourself whether or not the figure arrived at would be an excellent A+ settlement

* the final demand for your first letter of demand to the insurance carrier must represent the very best you could do with the very best jury on the very best day assuming the case went as well as it could

* it must bear some reasonable degree of justification as an initial demand figure

* represent double the botXXXXX XXXXXne authority on the case

* a figure that would give you significant room to move if suit is commenced and proceeds towards trial





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