TODAY   |  March 19, 2014

Woman mauled by chimpanzee speaks out

Charla Nash, the Connecticut woman mauled and disfigured by her friend’s chimpanzee five years ago, is speaking out in an effort to get a financial settlement to help pay for her recovery. NBC’s Kristen Dahlgren reports.

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>>> now an update on a connecticut woman who was mauled and disfigured by her friend's chimpanzee. this morning, charla nash speaks out to get a financial settlement to help pay for her recovery. kristen dahlgren with the latest on that. good morning to you.

>> good morning, matt. well, charla nash has appeared several times on "today." injuries so bad, she had to have a face transplant . this morning, we are getting a look inside her recovery, the progress she's made in five years and the battle she is still fighting.

>> i feel like i'm locked out. i feel like i'm in a cage.

>> five years after the attack that took away her eyesight and most of her face, charla nash is coming forward ahead of an important hearing friday. she wants lawmakers to see her and the struggle she still has.

>> i'm hoping that the legislation will allow me to have my day in court. that i will be able to have a judge listen to the evidence that is brought before him about the vicious attack on me.

>> reporter: in this seven-minute independently produced video distributed to the connecticut legislature, nash appeals to lawmakers. she wants them to reverse a decision from a state commissioner which barred her from suing the state. she says the state should've seized the dangerous animal. but the commissioner ruled that no law in place prohibited ownership of the chimp.

>> i'm trying to work the best i can to have my sanity. and i just -- i want to be as normal as i can be.

>> for nash , everything changed february 16th , 2009 . she was helping with her friend and employer's chimpanzee when the 200-pound animal attacked tearing off portions of her nose, lips and hands. meredith followed her medical progress on the "today" show. in 2011 , nash had a face transplant .

>> i apologize, i'm looking at your face and i'm in awe. how are you feeling?

>> i'm doing good, but i've had a lot of succeetbacks.

>> they say sometimes, the face glows. i don't really think it's me, it might be the donor that's a part of me is really enjoying this second chance here.

>> the 60-year-old single mother hopes friday's hearing is another step toward easing what she can never fully get back.

>> i miss waking up in the morning with the sun. i miss just -- i really miss seeing a whole lot.

>> now, in 2012 , nash received $4 million from the estate of the chimp's owner, but nash is asking the state of connecticut for $150 million for additional medical costs. the office of connecticut 's attorney general released a statement today saying while we have the utmost sympathy for charla nash , to decide otherwise would set a very dangerous precedent exposing the state and taxpayers to unlimited liability and costly litigation, matt.

>> all right, kristen dahlgren. thank you very much. obviously, she has made an enormous amount of progress since we saw her last on this show.

>> hard to believe.

>> incredible to see how far she's come.

>>> coming up, bill and