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Appeals court upholds $140k dog bite injury award

A federal appeals court upheld an unusually large jury award for injuries caused by a dog bite. A jury said that the woman who was injured by the dog will receive $140,000 in damages for medical expenses, permanent disfigurement, pain and suffering, and loss of some aspects of a normal life.

These types of damages are typical of personal injury cases that arise after a dog has bitten someone, although typically the amounts are not quite as high.

The injury in this case occurred when a woman was at the home of her brother and his wife when their dog ran out into the street. The dog was hit by a passing truck and the woman ran outside with her sister-in-law. When she tried to restrain the dog to protect him from running away while injured, the dog turned and bit her thumb, causing serious damage.

The damage to her thumb required four surgeries to repair and the woman has still not regained full functionality, which has been difficult as she cares for her newborn child. She pursued damages from her brother and his wife under an applicable state law and the case was heard by a jury over the course of a three day trial. It went before the court of appeals when the defendants argued that the jury instructions provided by the judge to help the jury navigate the law were incorrect. The sought a new trial but the court of appeals said that the instructions were proper and that the verdict should stand.

Source: Madison County Record, "Fifth District upholds $140K jury verdict over dog bite," Bethany Krajelis, March 28, 2013.

Information about the rights of California residents who are victims of dog bites can be found on our personal injury page.

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