Dog Bites Plumber...

by Anonymous
(Lakewood, California)

A plumber would not stand still while my dog sniffed him. He made a quick move up the stairs and my dog bit him. After he was bit he continued to do the work. He then went to the doctor after the incident. Later he told me he was afraid of dogs and had been bitten on the job before.

He says that he is traumatized and now will ask if someone has a dog before entering a home. I wonder why did he not do this after the first bite.

His medical bills are $500 and his lost time to go to the doctor is $140. What is reasonable for him to ask for pain and suffering?

Visitor Question:
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ANSWER for "Dog Bites Plumber...":

Anonymous (Lakewood, California):

“Pain and Suffering” compensation is wholly a subjective exercise. In most personal injury cases pain and suffering is determined by multiplying the medical bills, called “Hard Costs” by 3x (or another multiple depending on the severity of the injuries and other factors). That doesn’t include any lost wages.

So in the plumber's case a total amount of settlement, which will include the $500.00 for his doctor’s bill, his lost wages AND his pain and suffering would be in the range of $1,920.00.

That’s a lot of money. There isn’t any law in California or any other state which requires a person to pay for a victim’s “pain and suffering”. Your plumber’s assertion of his fear of dogs seems to be awfully convenient.

If he was so traumatized why did he complete the job? - unless he is claiming some sort of post-traumatic stress syndrome; and that is highly unlikely. It’s up to you, but it seems reimbursing him for his medical bills is all you need to do to be fair. Any amount more than that and you are being overly, and legally unnecessarily generous.

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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