A 37 year old college student attending the College of the Sequoias in Visalia, California, was mauled in the face by her neighbors Pit Bull. She had returned home from school in the early after noon hours and opened the garage door at her home to let her three small Chiwawa dogs out into the back yard. She went back into the garage through the side door intending to enter the residence. Suddenly, she heard loud barking and found that the neighbors Pit Bull dog had one of her Chiwawas pinned under a temporary fence constructed to keep the dogs out of a flower bed. She went to unpin the dog only to find that it was dead. She looked up frightened by what she had just seen and was now witnessing. Her two other small dogs were engaged with the Pit Bull at the neighbors fence. The Pit Bull had one of the dogs pushed to the ground. In an effort to save the second Chiwawa from sure death she grasped the Pit Bull’s mouth with her bare hands and pried it open. The Pit Bull dropped the small dog at her feet and proceeded with an attach to her face. She stood up bleeding and torn from the attack when the Pit Bull one again lunged toward her. She blocked him with her arms and struck the Pit Bull with all the force she could muster in her fists. The Pit Bull withdrew and she collapsed to the ground, sobbing , for her pets with little concern for her own trauma. The young woman who suffered with Paranoia , Schizophrenia , bi- polar disorder and Depression was on Social Security Disability and was attending college on state grants. As part of her "therapy" she took up caring for small dogs and assisting the local animal rescue. From this experience she thought that the Pit Bull acted as a trained fighting dog.
Ultimately, she called an ambulance and was taken to the local hospital. There she learned the extent of her injuries. She had muscle torn in her left cheek. She had cuts inside her mouth that required over 100 stitches to close, her teeth were fractured and one of the Pit Bulls fangs was embedded in her jaw. She contacted the neighbor for assistance in paying her medical expenses. The neighbor said they did not have money, did not have insurance or own the home. Traumatized and Frustrated she saw an add for the Dunnion Law Firm on TV and decided to call. The attorney advised her that the lack of a source of recovery for her injury looked grave but that he would take her as a client and investigate the incident. If there was no source of recovery he told her she would not be obligated to the firm in any way. She was relieved by this assurance and retained The Dunnion Law Firm. As promised the attorney and staff investigated the incident and found that the house was owned by an aunt of the dog owner. It was also learned that the aunt had a policy of liability insurance on the house. The Dunnion Law Firm then filed a claim with the carrier which was initially denied because the home owner did not own the dog and denied even knowing the dog was on the premises. Fortunately, for the young woman The Dunnion Law Firm continued to fight for her and established through witnesses that the aunt of the dog owner had frequented the home on multiple occasions for dinners and other visits. Faced with this evidence the home owner’s insurance carrier accepted the claim but denied the extent of the woman’s injury. The Dunnion Law firm then retained the services of a Psychiatrist and a Plastic Surgeon. The Psychiatrist prepared a report addressing how the pre existing psychiatric condition was compounded with the dog attack. The Plastic Surgeon then evaluated her face and prepared a report describing complex and expensive surgery that would be needed to repair the muscles that would make her smile again. Finally, over whelmed by the evidence developed by The Dunnion Law firm the home owner’s insurance company agreed to pay the woman the full liability Policy Limits of $500,000.00 plus full policy limits of medical payments coverage. While certainly facing a long road to recovery this hard working college student having faced many obstacles in the past is once again moving forward enthusiastically with life and her college career.