EUR 15,000 compensation for bear attack

According to the second-instance decision of the Hargita (Hargitha) County Court, the Ministry of Environmental Protection must pay EUR 15,000 in compensation to a young man attacked by a bear in Tusnádfürdő (Băile Tușnad). The attack, which happened in 2018, left the 28-year old in need of surgery; he was treated at the County Emergency Hospital in Csíkszereda (Miercurea-Ciuc), Hungarian newspaper székelyhon.ro reports. The decision is not final, as there is a possibility of further appeal.

The accident happened at dawn on August 5, 2018, in Tusnádfürdő, when the young man was attacked by a mother bear with three cubs near a gas station. A friend then came to help, but he was also injured; the big game was finally chased away by a third man, after which the two others were taken to the County Emergency Hospital.

The first man filed a lawsuit in the Court of Csíkszereda against the Ministry of Environmental Protection, Water and Forests as well as against the territorially competent Saint Anne Hunting Association, asking for EUR 40,000 compensation for the injuries he sustained. The hunting association asked to be removed from the lawsuit, stating that they were not involved in the matter. The court accepted the hunting company’s request and, based on the hearing of witnesses and the evidence of the forensic medical examiner, ordered the ministry to pay RON 24,000 (approximately EUR 4,900) in compensation, holding it responsible for the attack.

Both the injured man and the ministry appealed this decision: The man asked for an increase in the compensation, while the ministry asked for it to be canceled. Based on the appeals, the second-instance decision was made by the Hargita County Court. According to the decision announced a couple of days ago, the ministry is obliged to pay compensation to the injured man of EUR 15,000. At the same time, the appeal brought by the Ministry against the previous judgment was dismissed, and the institute was ordered to pay RON 3,264 (EUR 670) in attorney’s fees. The decision is not final, as it can be brought in front of the Appeals Court in Marosvásárhely (Târgu Mureș).

Székelyhon also spoke to Nicolae Daniel Cătinean, the lawyer representing the injured man. According to Cătinean, it has happened before that the ministry did not appeal further in such cases because the judgment made its responsibility clear. In his opinion, it would be pointless to appeal further in this case, as the verdict cannot be changed.

The lawyer also pointed out that it is hard to obtain the compensations ordered by the court from the state institute because, in the beginning, they can ask, say, for a six-month payment delay, claiming there is no money for such cases in their budget. Later, they might say that they first must pay other compensations that were ordered by the courts earlier. The lawyer stressed that this case has drawn attention to the fact that big game represent a great danger to people and that the authorities should ensure the safety of the population. This case showed that if the authorities cannot protect the population, they will pay, the lawyer told Székelyhon.ro.

Title image: Bears represent a great danger in Tusnádfürdő. Photo: Székelyhon

Author: Orsi Sarány