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Case Result: $404,000 Dog Attack Verdict

January 1, 2015

A Multnomah County jury awarded $404,044.75 to a woman injured after being charged by a pit bull.  The woman was walking along the side of 160th Avenue when a pit bull began barking and charged at her. As she retreated, she fell off a small retaining wall. The fall caused her to fracture her femoral condyle, rupture her ACL and tear her meniscus. Her medical bills totaled $18,828.57. Her doctor recommended future knee surgery.

She tried to work with the homeowner's insurance, Allstate, but they would not take responsibility for her injuries. She hired a lawyer to represent her. Allstate still denied liability and refused to make a settlement offer.  Her first lawyer said the case was not winnable, so he fired her as a client. She spoke with several other lawyers who handle dog bites and attacks, and they all rejected her case.

She hired The Law Office of Chad Stavley.  Chad filed a lawsuit and began preparing for trial.  The defense lawyers claimed the dog never left the property or crossed to the injured woman's side of the road.  They denied liability and made no offers.

Chad established the dog owner's legal responsibility before trial using a legal procedure called summary judgment. With their liability case defeated, Allstate made an offer of $225,000 shortly before trial. Chad advised the woman to reject the offer, and she did.  The case proceeded to trial in Multnomah County Circuit Court.  Chad presented medical testimony about the significance of the injury and the need for future care.  In addition, he offered evidence of diminished earning capacity because there were no wage losses as the woman had been unemployed when the incident happened.

With liability established, Allstate defended the case on damages. They claimed the woman's injuries were not significant. Moreover, it had been over two years, and she had not had the surgery recommended by her doctor.  

The jury deliberated for several hours before returning a $404,044.75 verdict for the injured woman.

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