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Muncie Boy Wins $2.85 Million Settlement After Horrific Lawnmower Accident

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Muncie, Indiana— two-year-old Bryan Whitesill’s life was forever changed when his grandfather accidently ran him over with a riding lawn mower in August of 2008. While mowing the lawn, Jay Morrison, the boy’s grandfather, did not realize his grandson was standing behind the riding mower. He backed up over the boy with the blades of the mower still running, causing severe lacerations to the boy’s abdomen, legs, and genitals. Morrison immediately called 911 and Bryan was then airlifted to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital where he received many complex surgeries to repair the traumatic injuries. Unfortunately doctors informed Bryan’s parents, Jessica Morrison and Christopher Whitesill, that their son would never father children because of the damage done to his genitals—including a complete loss of his scrotum, testes, and penis.

Faced with mounting medical bills, including an initial bill of $500,000 and another $250,000 yet to come, Bryan’s parents had to make an extremely difficult decision: either sue the boy’s grandfather or get his insurance company to pay for the boy’s medical treatments. Specifically, Jessica’s parents own J & D Trucking & Excavation and were insured by Westfield Insurance. Since the accident occurred on property used by the Morrison’s trucking company, the Whitesill’s sought the policy’s payout limit to fund a trust for Bryan to cover his existing medical bills and future medical needs until he is 23 years old.

Westfield Insurance agreed to the $2.85 million settlement and establishment of the trust. However, the boy’s mother testified that she is unsure of the long-term psychological and mental trauma the boy might suffer because of the loss of his genitals. Bryan is now three years old and starting kindergarten. He will have to undergo many more reconstructive surgeries to repair the damage to his body, but according to his mother he is like any other three year old, for now.

Please remember to be safe when mowing your lawn. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 800 children a year are run over by a riding lawn mower. Keep your child out of the yard and have them supervised by another adult while you mow your lawn. It is extremely important to have your child monitored by another adult, because you can NEVER assume that a child will stay in the same place where you last saw them. Stay alert!