Dog Attack Injury to Child's Face Requiring Plastic Surgery...

by Leigh Ann
(Hendersonville, TN)

My daughter suffered a dog attack injury and was bit on her face on December 28, 2010. We had gone to my husband's aunt's house to assist with the repair of her windows and hanging of blinds. My daughter and I arrived after my husband to provide him some additional tools he needed.

Upon entry into the house the dog approached my daughter and they began to play, she was petting him and he was on his back and she was rubbing his belly. We all walked to the next room and she walked along side of us. In the next instance we heard the dog make a shrilled bark and ran to the next room, leas than 30 seconds had passed.

My daughter was across the room from the dog standing very stoically with her hands covering her left cheek. I approached her and pulled her hand away to see that her entire cheek was gone! I immediately picked her up and ran to my car, calling my pediatrician in route to the closest hospital.

In summary, my daughter was seen by the ER physician and we were told they had placed a call to a plastic reconstructive surgeon. She underwent surgery very shortly thereafter. The surgery took about two hours. Her face will be scarred, she missed her speech appointments and pre-school for the next few weeks.

While my daughter has done well I am disappointed to say my husband's aunt only came by the day after to our house with a fruit basket asking "if we were mad at her and blamed her" and we at the time said we were not.

We have now found out that this dog has bitten several other people, the family has never called or asked how my daughter is doing. My daughter will have a scar but is also experiencing anxiety, fear of animals, and sleeplessness.

She and we are often asked what happened. My daughter recently asked me if the scar will ever go away. She even told me she could not be a princess because princesses do not have scarred faces and refers to her scar as her "Frankenstein scar."

After receiving all the medical claims and potential treatment she will need in the future we are planning to file a claim for her medical bills, our loss of work, her loss of speech therapy and absence from school, future treatment and surgery she may need. Not to mention the anxiety and guilt her dad and I have and I am sure the duress she has been under.

I have never had to deal with something like this and have no idea what to pursue. Your feedback and guidance is much appreciated.

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Dog Attack Injury to Child's Face Requiring Plastic Surgery... ":

Leigh Ann:

Your daughter has suffered a terrible trauma. Although you did not mention her age we'll presume at the time of the attack she was a minor.

In the state of Tennessee homeowners policies normally include an "on-premise liability" clause. The clause provides compensation to those injured on the homeowner’s property, whether inside or out.

So that you might protect the best interest of your child you should take the following action:

Ask the aunt for the name, policy number, and telephone number of her homeowner’s insurance carrier. As soon as possible call the carrier and report the attack. You will be given a claim number, and in some instances even the name and telephone number of the claims adjuster who will be assigned to your daughter’s case.

You should be keeping accurate records of any and all matters directly or indirectly related to your daughter and her injures. These records should include copies of every medical bill, from the day you took your daughter to the emergency room and continuing to the present day.

Also keep copies of all out-of-pocket expenses such as medicines, bandages, and the like. Keep copies of receipts for hospital parking lots and even a pro rated amount of gasoline used going back and forth from doctors’ appointments.

During this process it's likely you will be receiving a telephone call or personal visit from your husband’s aunt’s insurance carrier. The person calling will be the Claims Adjuster.

You must remember from the start that your conversations with the adjuster will likely be recorded. The law allows her to record your conversations without telling you. You should be keenly aware although the adjuster may be sincerely sympathetic to your daughter’s plight, her first duty is to minimize liability and compensation.

During any conversations be careful not to minimize your daughter’s pain and suffering. You should be careful not to finalize and settle the case unless you are thoroughly aware of the consequences of such a settlement. Your daughter will most likely continue to incur medical bills into the future. Agreeing to settle the case prematurely would be a serious mistake.

Finally, any settlement should include a substantial and additional amount for Pain and Suffering. Determining that amount is more of an art than a science. Many times the amount recovered for Pain and Suffering is far greater than the amount paid for the actual and out of pocket expenses.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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TYPE OF ACCIDENT
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PERSONAL INJURY
WORKERS COMPENSATION
MEDICAL ERROR
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