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Leesfield & Partners retained in case of 83-year-old woman attacked by neighbor’s pet bird. What happened?

An 83-year-old Marathon, Florida, woman retained Leesfield & Partners to represent her after a neighbor’s pet bird attacked her while she folded towels at the community pool.

The woman lives alone in the Marathon community in a two-story condominium and was watching her granddaughter swim in the pool the day of the incident. When she returned to the pool later on to retrieve the beach towels her granddaughter had left, a neighbor came down to the pool area carrying their pet bird whose wings are clipped. As  the woman folded the discarded towels, her neighbor put the bird on the fence around the pool near where the woman stood. The bird then reached out and bit the woman on her hand, startling her and causing her to violently fall to the ground. The woman was transported to hospitals a total of three times by ambulance and it was determined she had a broken hip requiring surgery. 

Following the bird attack, the woman was left bedridden at the hospital for several weeks and likely has several months of painful recovery and physical therapy still ahead. Due to the incident, the woman “sustained permanent disabling and disfiguring injuries,” according to a lawsuit filed in Circuit Court for the 17th Judicial Circuit in Monroe County. 

About Hip Injuries

An estimated 300,000 individuals suffer from a hip fracture every year in the United States, according to data from Baptist Health South Florida. The majority of these injuries are from falls either at the patient’s residence or within their communities. The bulk of these patients are 60 years old, or older. A hip fracture can lead to further serious health complications. While these types of injuries are not uncommon from falls in the aging population, they can rarely be treated without surgery and impede a person’s mobility and independence. 

 An injury of this nature typically takes anywhere from six months to a year to fully recover from with many patients never regaining full mobility. 

The toll this injury takes on a person is not solely physical. The mental health aspect of not being able to partake in activities that a patient may have previously enjoyed is also a factor in terms of recovery. Depending on the nature of the fracture, a hip injury of this sort can lead to a “significant deterioration” in a person’s standard of living, Dr.  Alexander D. Gaukhman, with Baptist Health Orthopedics and Sports Medicine, said in an article accompanying the data. Daily activities as simple as walking through the neighborhood or using the stairs in a home can become challenging and painful.

Past Cases & State Law 

This is not the first time a bird attack has taken place on the community’s property. At least one other person suffered an attack from the same pet. That incident took place involving the tenant of another condominium owner. Leesfield & Partners has handled numerous personal injury cases involving both pets and hip injuries. 

One such case involved that of an aerobics instructor, represented in her personal injury case by Leesfield & Partners, who was left so badly injured after an accident at a residence in 2022 that she will struggle to walk for the rest of her life. 

In that case, the woman fractured her right femur and suffered “never-ending pain” following the accident, according to court documents. The law firm was able to secure a $300,000 settlement for the injured woman. 

Another woman, 77, was viciously attacked by a neighbor’s dog while walking out of her home to check her mail. The woman had her own dog, a Welsh terrier, on a leash while she walked to the mailbox. A neighbor’s large dog, also on a leash, lunged for the terrier as they approached, causing the neighbor to lose control of the leash. To protect her dog, the woman stepped between it and the neighbor’s snarling dog and was mauled. She suffered bite wounds to her right elbow, forearms and broken bones in her left hand. Leesfield & Partners was able to secure a $1.5 million settlement in that case. 

The law concerning dog bites in Florida is clear that the owner is strictly liable for a victim’s injuries and cannot claim a dog’s docile history as a defense. The owner of that animal is responsible for warning visitors of the property of any potential dangers. An example could be a caution sign on the property or a verbal warning to steer clear of the area where the animal is being contained. Exotic birds, such as parrots, parakeets and finches, are classified by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission as Class III Wildlife.

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