Examining the Famous Dog Bite Case of Harris v. McGraw

What are the potential damages associated with a dog bite?

The somewhat bizarre case involving celebrity Dr. Phil illustrates the potentially serious consequences of a dog attack. Dog bites typically involve puncture wounds, cuts, and potentially scarring. At times, however, a dog bite can lead to more serious illnesses. Dogs are potentially the carriers of serious bacteria and disease, making it critical that any dog bite victim seek immediate medical attention. Our Rio Rancho dog bite lawyers discuss the case of Harris v. McGraw and the potentially severe damages associated with a dog attack.

Harris v. McGraw

Television celebrity Dr. Phil McGraw found himself in the midst of a serious lawsuit back in 2011. McGraw’s dog, Maggie, a Korean Jindo, bit a visitor to the family home. Janet Harris was a skin care specialist and friend of Dr. Phil’s wife. After the dog attacked Harris, rather than transporting Harris to a physician, Dr. Phil convinced Harris not to seek medical attention. Instead, he obtained antibiotics from a friend who was a nurse. This move saved him some negative publicity in the short term, but ultimately backfired.

Due to the lack of appropriate medical treatment, Harris developed a serious bacterial infection. The infection leads to permanent hearing loss and tremors in one of Harris’ hands. Harris, who requires her hands for her business, was forced to shut down.

Harris filed a lawsuit for $7 million against Dr. Phil McGraw seeking compensation for her lost wages, medical expenses, and emotional pain and suffering. McGraw originally attempted to have the case dismissed because Harris had signed an arbitration clause. However, McGraw was ultimately forced to settle the case in 2013.

Dog Bite Damages

Harris’ lawsuit involved tremendous damages. While the hefty amount sought is not typical of a dog bite lawsuit, it is far from unheard of and many cases have involved even greater losses. In addition to cuts, punctures, and scarring, dog attacks can result in bacterial infections, tetanus, and even rabies, which is fatal if not immediately treated. The greater the injuries, the larger the damages that a dog bite victim may seek. Damages stemming from a dog attack could include medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. Contact a personal injury attorney for more information about your legal rights following any dog attack.

Posted in: Dog Bite Injury