Woman awarded huge settlement

Woman bit on thumb awarded huge settlement in decades old dog bite case

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A woman, who suffered a dog bite on her thumb 20 years ago, has been awarded nearly $1 million by a jury in Illinois. According to Friday’s publication of the Daily Herald, on Thursday, a DuPage County jury awarded $940,000 to Kristen Hayes, the woman who was bitten on her thumb by a small dog named “Gucci,” in April 1997.

Hayes had been asked for help by an employee of Carriage Animal Clinic –  Hayes, who was just eight years old at the time, was sitting on her porch when the employee asked for her assistance to capture a Lhasa apso who had escaped from her leash. Hayes managed to eventually catch up to the 10-pound dog, but she was bitten on her thumb when she tried to pick the dog up.

The bite caused significant damage, including a crushing nerve injury to the terminal fibers of the sensory branch of the radial nerve – over the next several years, Hayes had to undergo a total of four surgeries on her damaged thumb and she developed a chronic pain syndrome.

According to Clifford Law, the verdict is the highest verdict in the history of Illinois stemming from a dog bite. After the verdict, Attorney Bradley Cosgrove stated:

“This case clearly demonstrates how careless conduct can jeopardize the health and safety of small children and we hope that the verdict will in some way make certain that all veterinary clinics around the county will take necessary precautions to make sure that this type of preventable tragedy can be avoided. My client suffered permanent injury to the thumb of her dominant hand and we are thankful to the jury for providing the justice that Kristen deserved in this situation and we are glad that the verdict provided for financial security to make sure Kristen’s medical needs are accounted for in the future.”

(Stock image of Lhasa Apso via Pixabay Free Images)


19 replies
  1. Sue says:

    Just goes to show how things have changed. When a man ran over me (I was 2 years old) with his car in 1951, he paid the hospital bill (for internal injuries and broken left femur). I’ve had residual damage, but since it was not intentional, no one saw a need to file a lawsuit. Granted, the vet’s office is a business, but the way things are going, people can now be sued, and have their dogs seized, if their dogs just look sideways at someone else. It’s disgusting.

      • Deborah Ashmore Harris says:

        That is not legally true. Once you sign a release you cannot sue, but accepting money for medical expenses without a release does NOT prevent you from suing as long as you are within the statute of limitations in each state which means, in Texas, within two years of the date of the event.
        -Attorney in Dallas

    • Sheri says:

      I agree with you Sue….things have changed a lot and not necessarily for the good. Too many people are “sue happy”. No morals to do what’s right anymore.

  2. Sherry says:

    I’m not trying to be unsympathetic and maybe more details about the defendant’s injury would make me feel differently, but I think this Illinois jury over evaluated this case at 940,000! Usually that amount of money is paid for wrongful death or an extremely severe injury. This case just doesn’t seem to warrant that kind of settlement!

    • Deborah Ashmore Harris says:

      It is not legally true that once you accept payment for your injuries you cannot still sue. If you sign a release you can’t then sue, but the statute of limitations can vary from state to state. It is a common practice that claimants have their medical bills covered by the tortfeaser when liability is reasonably clear without forging their right to sue. As long as they don’t sign a release.

  3. Rev. Dr. Yvonne Ray says:

    If she really has chronic pain syndrome, that is a horrible condition. I don’t know the details of her case.

    I lived over 54 years in Illinois. Praise the Lord I am gone from that place. Illinois has long been considered the most corrupt state. We had more governors criminally indicted than any other state. The Chicago “machine” and the mob still influence everything that goes on politically.

    Sorry. I know this has nothing to do with the story. I just wanted to express my joy of being gone from that corrupt place.

  4. Roselyne CORNETTE says:

    Et quand un animal est torturé, tué, la justice donne une tape sur la main et tout va bien dans le meilleur des mondes….. Les lois devraient être les mêmes pour toutes vies brisées. Les animaux sont bien plus respectables que certains (humains).

  5. Nancy Raymond says:

    The employee of Carriage Animal Clinic should never have asked an eight year old child for assistance in catching an animal. No one knows how an animal will react when scared – I am amazed it took 20 years for this to be resolved. It is the employee’s fault totally. This person should never have put a child in such a situation.

  6. Emily says:

    She had surgeries during childhood due to the dog bite, let’s not jump to conclusions about looking for money. What’s worse about the time we live in are how people jump to conclusions and are so quick to make negative comments and demonize parents and people who have suffered, when they have no idea what actually happened or what the person went through.

  7. Cherryl Gallo (@CherylGallo5) says:

    U GOTTA b FUCKING kidding me! ??? This is TRULY 1 of THEE MOST RIDICULOUS settlements I’ve ever heard! My 74 y/o uncle was hit by a car, STILL learning 2 walk again…& bc he can’t remember EXACTLY what happened, he can’t get legal representation & the medical bills…still mounting! What a bunch o’ SHIT

  8. pamela bolton says:

    you have got to be joking !!! 20 years!!! Glad I don’t live in a screwed up place like Illinois. 20 years is beyond disgusting. She sure had no problem functioning up to that point. I know people with worse injuries getting along just fine. Another state I will steer clear of. Damn.

    • Rev. Dr. Yvonne Ray says:

      I lived there over 54 years and the only thing I miss about the place is some of the food – and very little of that!


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