$4 million settlement reached in Connecticut chimp attack lawsuit
A Connecticut woman mauled in a 2009 chimpanzee attack has settled her personal injury lawsuit against the estate of the chimp’s owner, several news outlets reported recently. According to ABC News, the lawsuit settled for about $4 million.
The woman was mauled by a friend’s pet chimp in 2009 while attempting to help the owner lure the animal back inside the owner’s home in Stamford, Connecticut. The 200-pound chimp attacked, leaving the woman blinded and severely disfigured; she lost both hands in the attack and later received a full face transplant.
Shortly after the attack, the victim’s family filed a lawsuit on her behalf against the owner of the chimpanzee, seeking $50 million in damages for her injuries. The lawsuit alleged that the owner knew the animal was dangerous but failed to keep it in a secure area, and that she gave it medication that may have made it more violent. According to court documents, the animal had bitten two other individuals in the past and had once escaped from the owner’s home for a period of several hours.
The chimp’s owner died in 2010, so settlement negotiations proceeded with her estate. The $4 million settlement will offset just a small portion of the victim’s medical costs, ABC reported, and her lawyers have announced plans to sue the state for allowing the owner to keep the chimpanzee despite warnings from a state biologist that the animal was dangerous.
Connecticut animal attack liability
When dog or other animal attacks a person in Connecticut, the owner of the pet can be held legally responsible for the injuries that occur. In Connecticut, the law holds dog owners “strictly liable,” meaning that a pet owner is generally responsible for all injuries caused by the animal regardless of any measures he or she may have taken to prevent an attack – such as keeping a vicious dog chained up or behind a fence.
As seen in the chimp attack case, some personal injury lawsuits result in large settlements, but most are more modest. Depending on the circumstances, people injured in animal attacks in Connecticut may be able to recover financial compensation for:
- Medical and hospitalization costs
- Psychological care
- Lost income
- Pain and suffering
- Property damage
If you or a loved one has been injured by an animal attack in Connecticut, you are encouraged to speak with a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer before making any arrangements with the pet owner. An attorney with experience representing victims of animal attacks can explain your rights and help you weigh your legal options, including whether to go forward with a claim against the animal’s owner or insurance company.