June 24, 2019

Ape Liability (Continued)

http://www.claimsjournal.com/news/east/2009/07/02/101919.htm

Now the victim of the enraged chimp “Travis” says she feared the ape due to its size, temperament and its tendency to damage its own cage. Charla Nash was attacked by the animal in February and was disfigured to the point where doctors at The Cleveland Clinic performed a face transplant.

Nash has filed a $50 million liability lawsuit against the chimp’s owner, Sandra Herold of Stamford, CT.

The Claims Coach speculates that Herold’s homeowners insurance coverage is triggered and that there is no way the homeowner’s liability policy limits remotely approach $50 million. The Claims Coach is not a lawyer, but is aware that often strict liability is applied to owners of wild animals, though legal counsel for Herold maintains there was no way for anyone to predict that the ape would inflict injury.

Notwithstanding those comments, it is tough to imagine that the homeowners liability carrier would not – at some point – tender its policy limits to try to get this case settled. The Claims Coach cannot imagine that the defendant would chance such a case to a dice-roll in front of a jury.

Given the horrific nature of the injury, the national publicity the case has garnered , the strict liability for injuries from domestically-kept wild animals – even the most stalwart and hard-nosed adjuster might think twice about trial and make a push to settle such a claim.

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