A West Virginia woman is suing the House of Representatives to the tune of $200,000. Two years ago, she suffered a dog bite in a congressional office while visiting Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA). According to the Washington Post, Elizabeth Crawford filed a federal lawsuit on Friday.
Crawford was visiting the Senator’s office in January of 2013. When Crawford bent to pick up a pen she had dropped, a staffer’s dog named Who Dey bit her right index finger. According to the lawsuit, Crawford claims to have suffered “severe and permanent bodily injuries and mental anguish; she has incurred medical expenses attempting to cure herself of such injuries; and her normal, social and recreational activities have been curtailed.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that there are about 3.7 million instances of dog bites in the United States each year. Twelve to 15 of those victims die as a result of infections. The dog that bit Crawford was apparently not up-to-date on its rabies shots.
The amount Crawford is asking for is quite a bit more than the cost of the medical expenses associated with the bite. A surgery to straighten a tendon and rabies shots amounted to $26,000. The remaining $174,000 is for pain and suffering.
Nearly half of all Americans will suffer a bite wound in their lifetimes, but these cases don’t always escalate to personal injury lawsuits. In any case, determining liability can be difficult, so it’s unclear whether or not Crawford will get the compensation she’s seeking.