Lombard woman awarded $940,000 for 20-year-old dog bite

Updated 4/21/2017 7:58 PM

A DuPage County jury deliberated for eight hours Thursday before awarding a nearly $1 million verdict in a 9-year-old dog bite lawsuit.

The $940,000 verdict was awarded on behalf of a 28-year-old Lombard woman who suffered injuries to her right thumb 20 years ago, due to a dog bite after she was asked to help a veterinary employee capture a runaway dog.


According to the lawsuit, filed in April 2008, Kristen Hayes was on her front porch on the morning of April 23, 1997, when an employee of Carriage Animal Clinic sought her help catching a 10-pound Lhasa apso named Gucci, who had escaped from his leash.

Hayes pursued the dog with the vet clinic employee for more than a block. When she reached down to pick up the dog, she was bitten on her right thumb, causing puncture wounds, a laceration and a crushing nerve injury to the terminal fibers of the sensory branch of the radial nerve.

Over the next 11 years, Hayes underwent four surgeries. As a result of the bite and surgeries, she developed a chronic pain syndrome.

"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," attorney Bradley Cosgrove said in a written statement.

According to the Jury Verdict Reporter, a website that tracks such things, this is the biggest verdict in state history stemming from a dog bite. The previous record in DuPage County was $335,000.

The publication also said this verdict is the largest in the state for a thumb injury without other significant trauma.

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