Woman Claims Dog Attack Caused Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Injury (PTSD)

The following blog entry is written to illustrate an example of an injury case. Reviewing this kind of lawsuit should help potential plaintiffs and clients better understand how parties in personal injury cases present such issues to the court.

(Please also note: the names and locations of all parties have been changed to protect the confidentiality of the participants in this dog bite lawsuit and its proceedings.)

INJURIES: Otter sustained a puncture wound to her right arm. She was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which she claimed that she developed as a result of the dog attack. She suffers from occasional flashbacks and is now afraid of big dogs.


On July 25, 2007, plaintiff Elene Otter, 36, a newscaster, was walking her small dog on Pacific Grove near a post office when two dogs, a Labrador retriever and a German shepherd, jumped out of parked car window and at least one attacked Otter’s dog. Otter was attacked when she tried to intervene. Two good Samaritans stopped the attack.

Otter sued the dogs’ owner, Diana Bean, and Bean’s father, Dan Amos, who was in the car with the dogs at the time of the incident.

Plaintiff’s counsel argued that Amos was in the car at the time of the incident on his cell phone and that he did not try to stop the attack on Otter and her dog. Counsel argued that Amos committed gross negligence. Otter claimed that the attack lasted three to five minutes.

Defense counsel contended that there was no evidence that both dogs attacked. Counsel stated that one dog was grabbed by a bystander and led back to the car. Amos was on the phone at the time of the incident and did not know what was happening until the attack was over. Counsel claimed that the attack was over in a matter of seconds and that Amos was not just watching the attack happen, but rather, he was unaware of what was happening.

For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.

After the accident, Otter went to the hospital where she was given antibiotics. She sustained a small scar on her arm. She underwent approximately six visits to a psychiatrist and an additional 10 visits to a psychologist to address her PTSD.

Otter’s dog underwent surgery and lived for four days before dying.

Defense counsel argued that Otter was exaggerating her injuries. Counsel contended that Otter’s PTSD was related to Otter seeing her dog killed rather than the dog attack itself. Under California law, plaintiffs can’t recover damages for the emotional distress of seeing a pet injured.

RESULT: Verdict-Plaintiff
Award Total: $87,232

The jury found for Otter and awarded her $87,232.35. The punitive damages were against Amos only.

For more information you are welcome to contact Sacramento personal injury lawyer, Moseley Collins.

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