Attorney John J. Houlihan Jr. of RisCassi & Davis has secured a $2,000,000 settlement for the estate of a woman, Janet D’Aleo, who was fatally mauled by her friend’s pit bull. While the case result is impressive under any circumstances, it is especially significant in that the elderly woman was 95 years old. Insurance companies are often insistent that the elderly – especially nonagenarians and centenarians – have naturally diminished qualities of life, and, therefore, any wrongful death case filed in their name should have a dramatically reduced value.
Attorney Houlihan was able to counter the insurer’s baseless argument with an extended video presentation of Janet’s lifestyle and activities shortly before the fatal dog attack in November 2019. Thanks to the video, it was made inarguably clear to the insurance company that she was still very much involved in local groups, such as her church and a woman’s group. She was also social, energetic, and loved spending time with her family as often as possible. To say that she had a “diminished quality of life” simply due to her age would be grossly disrespectful to her, her memory, and other older people leading active lives.
To further back his client’s claims, Attorney Houlihan used an audio file that recorded the fatal dog attack as it was happening. Janet visited a friend’s home, not knowing that they were away and that the friend’s dog was able to roam freely on the property. The dog’s owners attempted to dispute what happened during the fatal attack despite not being there to witness it, but the audio file easily contradicted them. The defendants claimed the dog was provoked into attacking, but nothing on the audio file would suggest any inappropriate behavior from Janet or her personal caretaker.
The insurance defense team initially insisted that they would only pay $400,000 to settle the estate’s claim. Attorney Houlihan pressed for more. After an extended back-and-forth with the insurance company and with the help of a neutral third-party mediator, a $2,000,000 settlement agreement was reached.
To learn more about Attorney Houlihan and the cases we accept at RisCassi & Davis, you can contact us at any time. Initial consultations are always free for inquiring clients.