A convicted murderer in a Cincinnati prison has been awarded $7,500 of taxpayer money after being disfigured in a dog bite incident while serving time.
The Columbus Dispatch reports that the dog bite attack occurred last year while inmate Vincent Doan was participating in a state prison adopt-a-dog program. He consequently sued prison officials; Doan and the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction reached a settlement last week.
Doan was convicted of the kidnapping and murder of his ex-girlfriend Carrie Culberson in 1997. He is serving a life sentence.
The incident happened almost a year ago on April 18th. A dog — thought to be a German Shepherd by Doan’s attorney Jose Lopez — attacked Doan, biting off a part of his nose, ripping his cheek, and causing permanent nerve damage to his face.
According to the suit, Doan fell on the dog, which startled it and incited the attack. The suit says that he suffered “serious physical injuries, scarring, pain and suffering, severe emotional distress, loss of enjoyment of life and has incurred medical expenses and other consequential monetary damages.”
Since Doan is in prison, there are no medical bills.
About five million dog bites occur each year in the United States, and 12 to 15 of the bite victims die from bite-related infections. There are roughly 31 million injuries that require a doctor’s attention each year, and when they are a result of someone’s negligence they are held legally responsible.
In Doan’s case, the state was liable since it was found that the dog had a history of biting — which the state should have known about.
“We found out the dog had a previous owner and it was given back because it had a propensity for biting,” Lopez told Cincinnati.com.
Doan originally sued prison officials for $25,000 and was slated to go to court but was settled pretrial, which is typical of personal injury cases (95% to 96% of cases are settled out of court).