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## State: California

### Urgent Help Needed After Dog Bite Incident

I urgently need help. Recently, my fiancé and I were dog-sitting for our neighbors when their dog bit my fiancé’s face, specifically his upper lip, causing severe damage. We rushed to the best ER in our area, where doctors consulted a plastic surgeon who deemed the damage irreparable due to the sensitive nature of the area. My fiancé’s upper lip has suffered a massive chunk removed and is completely mutilated.

### Legal Representation and Financial Concerns

In light of this traumatic incident, I am seeking advice on legal representation. If there is a possibility of reconstructing his face, it will involve expensive, multi-stage surgeries that may require us to travel for treatment. The financial burden is overwhelming, and I am at a loss as to how to proceed.

### Cooperation from Dog Owners and Wedding Concerns

Fortunately, the dog owners have been cooperative and offered to cover all costs out of pocket to avoid penalties on their homeowners’ policy. However, the situation remains complex, especially considering that our wedding is scheduled for August.

AI Legalese Decoder can assist in deciphering legal terms and providing guidance on navigating the legalities surrounding this incident. It can help streamline the process of seeking suitable legal representation and understanding our rights and options in this challenging situation.

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View Reference


  • Homeimprvrt

    Not all plastic surgeons are the same, some don’t do traumatic reconstruction of the face. I would get a consultation with facial plastics (ENT) at a large academic hospital near you.

  • ria1024

    The dog was in your home – was it under your care and supervision when the bite occurred, or were the owners present? Did they fail to tell you that the dog had a history of biting or other key information? Were you being paid to care for their dog when the injury occurred?

    It’s definitely worth consulting with a personal injury attorney, before you speak with their homeowners insurance.

  • skincare4friends

    There is definitely more a plastic surgeon can do! 100% worth getting a second opinion.

  • jduk43

    I don’t understand. The plastic surgeon said the damage is so bad there is nothing that can be done to reconstruct his face? Is he hospitalized? Does he have medical insurance?


    My father in laws lip was bit off by a horse when he was young. The whole upper lip. He gets lip injections every few years and they look pretty normal and natural now. Maybe that will be an option for you guys in the future

  • hygnevi

    Nothing is ever too bad to reconstruct!!! You need tge right surgeon. Look at this case done in NYC by Dr. Todd Hanna. Same scenario.

  • meat_uprising

    Try to get more opinions from other plastic surgeons. When my sister was younger, a dog bit off her lip similarly. It took a WHILE to ‘repair’, but they took skin from different parts of her body to repair it, and continued doing that as she got older and the skin stretched. She has a giant scar, but a lip again. This was nearly 20 years ago, so I’m sure medical science has advanced enough to do *something* about your fiance’s lip. Good luck, and don’t take one surgeon’s word for it that it’s impossible.

  • dinosupremo

    To answer your question of what to do — Consult with a personal injury attorney

  • wolferoad

    Stop posting anything online, hire attorney, they go after homeowners policy of dog owner.

  • LordThurmanMerman

    I’m dealing with a dog bite from my neighbor. Ripped up my mom’s hand pretty good. A week in the hospital, antibiotic IVs, surgery, the works.

    I asked my neighbor three times for their homeowner’s insurance before they ghosted me. Had to get a lawyer so they can handle it.

    On the medical front, you need to get another opinion. A plastic surgeon is going to want to have the tissue heal before anything reconstructive can be done if there is missing tissue. There is also a big risk of infection especially from a dog bite. That’s going to take some time.

    Get a good personal injury attorney. Limit your contact with the dog’s owners. This situation is different because you were in your home, but it was someone else’s dog. Typically, a dog is an extension of property so it should be the owner’s responsibility. Their property injured you. That’s kind of the logic.

    …But Reddit can’t give you a concrete answer. Retain a lawyer, take lots of photos and document doctor’s visits, and send every bill you get to your lawyer. You shouldn’t need to do much. That’s what your lawyer is for. Have them deal with the homeowner’s insurance. These are pretty cut and dry cases, but try to just get the medical care needed and worry about who is going to pay for what later. Just assume you’re not paying anything.

    That dog should also be quarantined and a police report should be filed. If the dog was not provoked in any way, it could seriously injure a child if it happens again, which typically, it does happen again.

    Sorry you’re going through this.

  • Data_body

    You should call your home owners insurance asap. Your neighbors will need to call theirs, there’s no paying out of pocket for plastic surgery.
    I’m guessing you’ve given up it health insurance info to the hospital, well in a couple months you’ll get a subrogation letter from your health insurance asking who’s responsible for the dog. Dealing with them without a lawyer will end up costing you ultimately.
    If the dogs bitten someone before as another person said the damages go way up.
    I’m not saying you need to sue to hurt your neighbors but you should file a claim, or they really should, additional you should get a lawyer because really no one will look out for you. Their insurance will help them and your health insurance will help themselves.
    Failing to do all this now could result in their insurance company denying the claim and leaving you SOL.

  • MayIServeYouWell

    Hey I’m not a doctor or lawyer, but lips can be reconstructed. It might not be easy or cheap or quick… or perfect, but it can certainly be done. Keep asking, keep searching. I’m so sorry to hear this happened to him, what a nightmare. 

    The owners are probably ghosting you at the advice of a lawyer. The costs on this could be very large, just for reconstructive surgery… not to mention any damages you might sue for. I have no idea who is at fault here though. 

  • No_Produce_423

    100% get an attorney. It makes it so much easier. I was knocked over by someone with a riding lawn mower. The idiot knocked me over and I had severe whiplash and headaches. You can’t calculate how much this will
    Cost you and what your pain and suffering is. An experienced PI definitely could. Let the attorney talk to the homeowners insurance.

  • Beegkitty

    My husband had a very similar bite. The dog took the upper lip and bit off from the Cupid’s bow to the outer edge. It wasn’t a clean bite / chomp either. It was all jagged but we were able to get some of the lip that was bitten off to the hospital. They used it as a temporary graft sort of. They stitched it on in the ER, it eventually fell off prior to the plastic surgeries.

    It took multiple plastic surgeries to reconstruct over several months. For some time his mouth didn’t close and he had to drink using a straw or the liquid would just spill out. In the end, they had to remove a lot of scar tissue and pull the lip straight across. This happened fifteen years ago and my husband still has problems sometimes with his lip. The scars can be totally not noticeable at all one day and the next all swollen and red.

    This happened in Northern California- SF area.

    The medical costs were substantial. Unless the owners are independently wealthy, there is no way they are going to be able to afford the medical costs out of pocket.

    You absolutely need an attorney here. Many will take this case on contingency. So you won’t have to pay anything out of pocket. Look for a fee below 33% if you can. But most importantly look for a good lawyer that will fight for you and not just the quick payoff. The medical bills will not just be done with one surgery. It could take months or years to heal depending on factors we can’t speak to here.

    I am sorry this happened to your fiancé. It is painful and life altering.

  • jay0ee

    I’m not an attorney, but you might want to consult one rather than reddit..

    I have personally researched this topic many times as I also live in California with a large GSD that is very reactive when around “his people” (immediate family living in the household). He’s fine with people being nearby but doesn’t want anyone to shake hands, lean over us, etc. When we’re not around, he’s a different dog completely, he doesn’t care what others do. This is just my findings and interpretation of laws and cases similar, as it’s always something we worry about. Take it for what it’s worth. I will admit that I’ve been wrong many times in my life.

    In California, courts have generally taken the stance that dog trainers, veterinarians, sitters/walkers, groomers, etc. know and accept/or should know that there is an inherent risk of being bitten associated with those fields and accept that when choosing them as a career.

    I’m sorry this happened to your finance, and wish you the best, but please consult an attorney and not reddit as it’s a tricky subject due to being there voluntarily and not just a passerby and the dog sitter aspect of it, and know there’s certain things expected of the victim and the dog owner and they’re expected to be done within specific time frames.

  • imjustbrowsingthx

    Call a dog bite lawyer in your jurisdiction. Do not “go easy” on the owner to avoid insurance claims etc. This is serious.

  • saharadnan97

    What breed was the dog?

  • AbbeyCats

    Get an attorney and file a homeowners claim

  • FilmConfident1346

    The owners are not making good decision. Insurance is there. Paying out of pocket will cost way more than what can happen to their rates or if the get canceled. (Not familiar with CA insurance so I know it is challenging. Plus they have a duty to report it. Call insurance

  • JSOCs_pawn_rev2

    Hopefully the first thing you did, after trauma care, was giving that mutt a forever nap.

    I’m not an expert in CA liability however I don’t see them being held liable. You were being paid to watch the dog, therefore you hold responsibility for the dogs actions while in possession of the animal. You’re lucky a third party was not the injured party.

    This is a PRIME example why you shouldn’t ever do things for compensation that may result in injury without adequate liability insurance covering yourself for any damages.

  • Animendo

    Really sorry to hear this. Definitely report it to the dog owner’s homeowners insurance and consult with a good plastic surgeon. Depending on the dog owner’s policy limit (typically $100-$500k) his claim may already be worth the entire limit due to permanent disfiguration and scarring. I would give them a chance to make an offer before giving away 30% to an attorney. Ask the insurance adjuster what their policy limit is (they will need to get permission from their insured to tell you). Then, if the insurance adjuster isn’t offering up the full policy limit, I would consult with an attorney. Most importantly get the treatment he needs. NAL.