Dear [insurance adjuster]:
I am writing in an attempt to settle my dog bite injury claim against John Smith, with respect to a dog bite that I suffered on June 1, 2016, from his dog, a large German Shepard.
I am a neighbor of Mr. Smith's on Walnut St., and was walking on the sidewalk past his house when his dog, who was tied up in the front yard, came off of his yard and attacked me. The dog was still on his line, but the line was too long, and allowed the dog to reach the sidewalk. The dog jumped up on me and bit me on the left arm. I was able to push him off and get into the street, where he could not reach me. It was a warm day, and so I was only wearing a short sleeve shirt. The bite went right through my skin and was causing a great deal of bleeding.
I took off my shirt and wrapped up my arm, and was yelling at the dog, who was barking. Mr. Smith heard the commotion, came outside, and saw what had happened. He apologized and asked if I wanted a ride to the hospital. I said no, that I would go home and drive myself.
I went home, wrapped up my bloody arm and shirt in a towel, put on another shirt, and drove to the hospital. At the hospital, the ER physicians determined that it was a rather deep bite and that it was going to require surgery to repair. They performed the surgery later that day, and I stayed overnight at the hospital.
The doctor said that the wound was likely to leave a rather large scar unless I had plastic surgery once it healed. I chose to have the surgery, and that was performed about three months later. But, despite two surgeries, the scar is still noticeable.
I am making a claim against your insured for all damages stemming from this injury. Under our state’s law, dog owners are absolutely liable for all injuries caused by a dog bite. (Learn more about dog owner liability.) And regardless of absolute liability, Mr. Smith was absolutely negligent for using a tie-up that was much too long to keep his dog from coming onto the sidewalk and attacking people. His dog is a big, menacing dog that has growled at people walking down the sidewalk for years. I am not aware of any prior attacks, but I do know that, in previous years, Mr. Smith had used a different tie-up that was shorter and prevented the dog from reaching the sidewalk.
As a result of this incident, I suffered a severe dog bite that caused muscle and circulatory damage. I had to have two surgeries, and I missed three weeks of work after recovering from the first surgery, and two weeks of work after recovering from the second surgery, for a total of five weeks of missed work. I am a mechanic at Fred’s Auto Body in Anytown. I have worked there for the past six years and earn $1,000 per week. So, my lost earnings claim is $5,000. I have attached a copy of my paystub to prove my earnings.
I incurred $14,000 of medical bills from this incident as follows:
- Anytown Hospital $7,000
- Dr. Johnson (first surgeon) $3,000
- Dr. Williams (plastic surgeon) $4,000
I have attached copies of my medical records and bills relating to this incident. So, my total special damages are $19,000.
My health insurance company has paid these bills, and has sent me notice of its personal injury settlement lien in the amount of $8,500 on this case. I have attached a copy of this notice.
As a result of this injury, I was more or less unable to use my left arm for a week after the initial surgery. Luckily, I am right-handed, but it was a significant inconvenience not to be able to use my left arm. Furthermore, it was difficult to sleep during that week. Every time I rolled over on my left arm during the night, I woke up.
Given that your insured is absolutely liable for this incident, I demand $60,000 to settle this case. Please advise as to your position on this matter.
(Note: A demand letter like this would be sent to the dog owner's homeowner's insurance company. Learn more about homeowner's insurance coverage for dog bites.)