In 2015, there were around 4.5 million reported dog bites. And the sheer volume of these incidents aren’t even the worst part. The average hospital stay for a dog bite costs $18,200, which is 50% higher than the average injury-related stay.
But at their core, dog bite cases are simple liability cases.
For example, if your meathead neighbor can’t hear his pitbull attacking you over the sound of his Whey Blaster 3000, whatever damage the dog does is your neighbor’s fault. As long as you didn’t provoke the attack, you’re owed compensation and it’s not like the dog is going to pay.
We’ve already written about celebrity canines and their beastly bites, which means it’s time to turn the tables and learn about celebrity victims...only these bites weren’t from dogs.
A famous-for-no-reason celebrity and her exotic pet
One of the most iconic aspects of Paris Hilton’s time on the reality TV show The Simple Life was her purse dog Tinkerbell. Wherever Hilton went, the chihuahua dangled from her wrist in its pillowy pink prison.
But for a short time, Paris traded in Tinkerbell for an even more ridiculous animal companion -- a South American Kinkajou.
She named the bulgy-eyed ball of fur Baby Luv and loved to show it off at fashion shows and photoshoots. Before long however, the Kinkajou’s bites and scratches became so severe that Hilton was forced go to the hospital for treatment.
There aren’t a lot of legal options when you own the animal that bit you, but then again, this is the same woman who said “I invented getting paid to party.” Maybe she’ll invent a way to sue herself and come out ahead.
Sharon Stone’s husband fought a dragon and lost
Phil Bronstein may not be as famous as his wife, but his courage in the face of an attack from a 10-foot-long lizard will live on forever.
Soon after their marriage in 2001, Sharon arranged to have the LA Zoo closed for a day so the newlyweds could have a private tour, which included a chance to see the inside of the Komodo dragon exhibit. Because who doesn’t want to share a room with a venomous reptile?
The animal’s keeper asked Mr. B to take off his shoes and socks in case the dragon confused their stark white color with the mice it ate every day.
Acting on basic instinct, the dragon charged straight toward the exposed flesh. Reports claim that Bronstein had to pry the jaws open himself before somersaulting out the feeding hatch -- presumably because the zookeeper was preoccupied with dialing his lawyer.
Susan Sarandon, the dolphin homewrecker
Early in her career, the Academy Award-winning actress was invited to swim with a group of dolphins in a San Francisco lab as a part of her conservation efforts and donations. A male specimen was towing her along the surface of the water when she felt a sharp pain in the hand she was using to hold onto the dolphin’s fin.
Moments later, the mate of Sarandon’s new friend was almost completely out of the water, shrieking like a banshee and towering over her.
Trainers claimed it was just a jealous “warning nibble,” but it took several months to heal.
Sarandon didn’t sue the facility (arguably because she’d be asking for her own donations back), but considering that the trainers should have known better than to pair her with a wedded dolphin -- she probably could have won.
Armed with only his beautiful face, Fabio went goose hunting
We’ll never know if this attack constituted a bite per se, but the unlikely combination of a rollercoaster, an Italian model, and one unlucky goose is one of our favorite legal thought experiments.
While sitting front and center for the inaugural ride of the Apollo’s Chariot roller coaster at Busch Gardens in 1999, Fabio’s face collided with a goose.
Too suave to file a personal injury lawsuit, Fabio wiped the avian entrails off his face and headed to the hospital to fix up his busted nose. But we can’t help but wonder, did he have a case?
Although the “reasonable care” doctrine usually exempts amusement parks from liability if they have taken the proper precautions, nobody warned the romance novel cover model that his career was in jeopardy the moment he strapped into his seat.
Freak accidents happen, which is exactly why liability waivers are so full of bizarrely specific worst-case scenarios.
If you’re attacked by an animal -- as prissy as a Kinkajou or as jealous as a dolphin -- you shouldn’t be stuck with the hospital bill. To discuss whether or not you’re entitled to a settlement, give us a call today.