JONESBORO, CLAYTON COUNTY GA - A WOMAN WHO WAS MAULED BY A PIT BULL IN APRIL 2015 WHILE TRYING TO PROTECT HER OWN SMALL PET HAS SETTLED WITH ALLSTATE FOR $300,000 INSURANCE POLICY LIMIT
A woman who was mauled by a PIT BULL TERRIER pit bull terrier has settled claims for a $300,000 insurance policy limit.
The dog's owner rented a home in Jonesboro but had no renter's insurance. His landlord's insurer, Allstate, agreed to pay the sum, said Decatur solo Rachel St. Fleur, who represents the attack victim.
St. Fleur said the degree and lasting effects of the woman's injuries—and the facts that Clayton County authorities fined the dog's owner $2,500 and euthanized the dog—may have swayed the insurer's decision not to fight the claim.
An Allstate spokeswoman said she would forward an inquiry to the company's regional office, but there had been no response by press time.
"I thought they were never going to accept liability," said St. Fleur.
According to St. Fleur and a demand letter she sent to Allstate, Carol Perry was walking her own dog, a dachshund, in her neighborhood last April when an unaccompanied pit bull ran up and attacked Perry's dog.
Perry snatched up her dog with her right arm, and the pit bull "grabbed on and would not let go," mauling Perry's arm for about five minutes while the woman struggled to break free. It was only when some neighbors came and began hitting the dog that it released her and ran off, the lawyer said.
Perry, a nurse at an assisted living facility whom St. Fleur said is in her early 50s, suffered severe lacerations to her arm, bites on a finger and scrapes to her knees and elbows. She was taken by ambulance to Southern Regional Hospital. In addition to her lacerations and abrasions, she was diagnosed with radial nerve injury and a fractured bone in her finger and treated for deep-vein thrombosis, or blood clots.
Perry spent three days in the hospital and had two outpatient surgeries after being discharged, said St. Fleur. She was out of work for more than a month, suffered permanent scarring and some loss of feeling in her arm, and still can't move her ring finger.
Perry's dog was also treated for bites to his neck and back.
The pit bull's owner, Anali Cortez-Luna, never arrived on the scene of the attack, St. Fleur said, although a day or so later she did come and apologize to Perry.
Cortez-Luna was cited for two counts of possessing a vicious dog, and for violation of Clayton County's leash law and rabies vaccination ordinance. St. Fleur said she did not know why a second pit bull owned by Cortez-Luna was also put down.
St. Fleur, a former lawyer with the Fulton County Probate Court, went into private practice a couple of years ago to dealing mainly with probate, traffic and family law matters. She said a former client referred Perry to her.
The lawyer had never dealt with a dog-bite case, she said. Her first step was to send a demand letter to Cortez-Luna, who immediately referred her to the property owner, Cruz Cervantes.