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Dog bite to child

April 28, 2010
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Trial Report

Steven and Jessica Russell, as parent of Caroline Russell, a minor v. Charles and Sherry Baughman

Court & Case no.: settled prior to filing suit

Injuries: facial scars

Date: Dec. 8, 2009

 

Disposition: $150,000 settlement to parents of injured child

Plaintiff Attorney(s): Steven M. Crell, Cohen Garelick & Glazier, Indianapolis

Defendant Attorney(s): none

Insurance: Grange Mutual Casualty Co

Case Information: Caroline Russell was 6 years old when she visited a friend’s home in Ohio. She was directed by the friend’s mother, the homeowner, to go to the garage to get ice cream. Caroline was attacked in the garage by the homeowner’s dog and was bitten on her nose, mouth, and cheek.
Caroline required 42 stitches in her face and had to have subsequent plastic surgery to correct scarring caused by the attack. She still has scars on her nose and lip that her plastic surgeon indicates will likely be permanent.

Because Caroline’s injuries occurred in Ohio at an Ohio residence, Ohio law controls. Ohio law differs from Indiana law in that a dog owner is strictly liable to a person injured by the dog so long as the injured person has not teased or provoked the dog, and so long as the injured person was legally in the presence of the dog and not committing a crime at the time of the attack.

Thus, in this instance, liability was fairly certain, and the proper amount of damages was the primary focus of settlement negotiations. The homeowner’s insurance company agreed to a pre-suit settlement requiring payment to Caroline’s parents for her benefit in the sum of $150,000. A minor’s compromise was approved by the Superior Court in Hamilton County, where Caroline now lives.

 - Steven M. Crell

 
 

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