Roy McSweeney was the victim of a horrible dog attack near Gainesville, Florida last Friday morning. According to news reports, McSweeney, age 74, was doing yard work when the dogs jumped a fence and attacked him.
News reports are not clear about where the dogs came from or who their owner is. Were the dogs roaming the street and did they jump McSweeney’s fence OR were they fenced in their owner’s yard and jump their own fence to attack McSweeney?
Either way, McSweeney is an elderly man who did not deserve to be mauled so horrifically. As a result of the attack, McSweeney has lost his right arm and has also sustained severe injuries to his face.
As an injury lawyer, I can tell you that this case is no run-of-the-mill dog bite case. This case is extremely serious and Roy McSweeney is most likely entitled to some very hefty financial compensation for his injuries, disability, pain and suffering. (Photo credit: News 4 WJXT Jacksonville))
Given McSweeney’s age, I am sure his injuries will not heal properly nor will they heal quickly. Because he is older, McSweeny is also subject to a higher risk of infection by virtue of having an elderly immune system. Put simply, an older person’s body does not have the ability to heal itself or fight off infection as well as a younger person.
There is also no doubt in my mind that Roy McSweeney will require multiple corrective surgeries to repair his injuries and reconstruct his face as best as can be done.
Given the nature of his injuries, he will undoubtedly be left with a major disability for losing an arm and he will also suffer major disfigurement to his face, as well as scarring, for the rest of his life.
From the perspective of an injury lawyer, I can tell you that this case will most likely have a high probability of success in the courtroom. The only real issue concerns the nature of the owner.
First, who is the owner? Where does he/she/they live? Most importantly, do they have assets of value or insurance that an injury lawyer can go after? A home owner’s policy may be a good start if it does not have a dog bite exclusion.
Should this case ever proceed to trial, I think Roy McSweeney would have a very good chance of winning for the following reasons:
1) McSweeney is a good plaintiff because he is elderly and seems to be an innocent victim who did not do anything negligent that contributed to the causation of his injuries.
2) McSweeney suffered major injuries and will continue to suffer with serious disability and disfigurement to his face for the rest of his life.
3) Pitbulls have a bad reputation for mauling innocent people. As cuddly and loving as some pet owners think pitbulls may be, the truth is that they are ferocious killers when they get aggressive. Very few elderly people have ever been mauled by poodles or dachshunds, if at all. However, it is very common to hear about vicious maulings done by pitbulls.
4) Someone who owns a pitbull knows of their ferocious tendency and has a duty to keep them safe.
At this stage of the case, it is imperative for Roy McSweeney and his family to hire the most capable injury attorney possible. Initiating an independent investigation is crucial at this point in time.
In other words, evidence must be identified, collected, and preserved. Identifying the owner of the dogs so he/she/they can be held accountable is extremely important at this stage.
I would also want to research local city records to find out if either dog has ever been cited in a past dog biting incident. In other words, do these dogs have a history? What would neighbors sat?
I would also not be surprised to learn that these dogs have a history of escaping from their enclosures.
If so, it would be clear that the owner was aware of a deadly problem but clearly did not do anything effective to correct it or prevent others from being injured by his dogs.
I can’t reiterate enough how horrific a case like this really is for the victim. When a pair of dogs attack a person, their attack isn’t quick or short lived, especially when the dogs maul a person so severely that an arm or limb is dismembered or a face becomes disfigured.
There is no doubt in my mind that this poor man suffered a great deal and was utterly defenseless while the dogs attacked him. I am equally sure that his suffering will not end. The nature of his injuries compounded by the pain of corrective surgery, extended hospital stays, and the great risk of infection make the injuries in this case some of the worst kind possible.
I really feel bad for him.
However, this is why we have a judicial system. McSweeney deserves justice and he deserves to be compensated greatly not only for his injuries and disability, but for his pain and suffering as well.
Hopefully Roy McSweeney and his family will hire an injury lawyer who will fight for Roy and obtain the best compensation possible for him.