Trial Report – Dog bite to child

Keywords neglect / Trial Reports

Dog bite to child

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

Court & Case #: settled prior to filing suit Injuries: facial scars

Date: pre-suit settlement Dec. 8, 2009

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

Plaintiff Attorney: Steven M. Crell, CohenGarelick & Glazier, Indianapolis

Defendant Attorney: 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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