Dunnion Law: California Homeowner Insurance Policies Affected By Rise Of Dog Attacks

Dunnion Law: California Homeowner Insurance Policies Affected By Rise Of Dog Attacks


MONTEREY, California, Dec. 18, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — According to a recent report from State Farm insurance, Californians are the most likely individuals to experience dog bites when compared to residents of other states. Based on data from the Information Insurance Institute (III), these dog bite injuries cost homeowners’ insurers a total of $686 million in 2017, contributing to higher premiums for homeowners.

Two recent dog bite incidents in California illustrate the impact that dog bites have, not only on homeowners’ insurance policies, but also to the victims that suffer these attacks. In both of these incidents, the same dog, dog owner, and homeowner insurance policy were involved. 

The dog, a Belgian Malinois known to have a bite force of more than 195 psi, attacked two women, Laurie Rice and Diana Fink. In each of the two separate incidents, neither woman had provoked the dog to attack. As a result of these events in which the dog owner was unable to control his dog, his homeowner insurance policy paid $2,000,000 in settlements, paying $1,000,000 to each of the two women injured.

In addition, the dog owner, George A. Guevara, was charged with criminal felony charges of assault with a deadly weapon (the dog), of brandishing a weapon, and of battery. Guevara, who had previous convictions related to rolling back the odometers of vehicles at his car dealership, attempted to have the dog assault a bar patron with whom he had had a fight. Instead, Guevara lost control of his dog which then actively attacked Fink, an innocent bystander to the altercation. As a result of these attacks, Guevara was convicted of the felony charge of brandishing the dog as a weapon and battery, and the dog was later destroyed. Fink, a bartender and a volunteer helping veterans and the homeless, had both her livelihood and volunteer activities impacted by the bite and attack to her forearm.

According to both victims, represented by Dunnion Law, a Monterey-based firm that has recovered seven-figure settlements for dog bite victims and won one of California’s largest dog attack settlements ($8,000,000), neither of them expected the dog attack, nor the end result that Dunnion Law obtained.

“The misuse of this dog has permanently affected these women, leaving them with both physical and psychological scars that will never fully heal,” said Connell Dunnion, CEO and owner of Dunnion Law. “Unfortunately, the dog owner put others at risk, and the dog, the insurers, and the victims, in particular, are left to deal with the final consequences.”

As incidents of dog bites continue to increase in California, it is important for dog owners to train their pets responsibly, and for victims to learn about the legal options available to them when they’ve been bitten.

With more than 42 years practicing personal injury law, Dunnion Law, headquartered in Monterey, CA, provides legal representation for victims of personal injury, including auto accidents, dog bites and catastrophic injury. For more information about Dunnion Law, please contact our office at 831.373.8035, or email to pr@dunnion.com.

(Docket # MSC17-00265)

SOURCE Dunnion Law

Dunnion Law: California Homeowner Insurance Policies Affected By Rise Of Dog Attacks