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The Economics of Dog Bites

As a Personal Injury lawyer, acting for both Claimants and Defendants, I am often instructed to bring or defend a claim relating to injuries and/or damages caused by dogs.
Examples of cases I have dealt with include being attacked by a dog when visiting a friend’s home, an individual intervening to break up a dog attacking their own dog, and lastly an individual being attacked as the owner’s gate was left open by his gardener.
Acting as a Claimant lawyer, I have to consider the merits of whether the Defendant is  “fit to sue”. Sometimes the Defendant has some sort of household or pet insurance which will cover them and if not, how quickly we will be able to enforce any judgment obtained.
As a Defendant lawyer, I am often approached because the individual has no such household or pet insurance that will cover them and are facing the prospect of dealing with a claim that may run into the thousands.  If the property damage is over £10,000.00 or the Personal Injury damage is over £1,000.00, then the Defendant will be responsible for the Claimant’s costs as well.  Some Defendants consider that they will be able to successfully defend the Claimant’s case, but what they do not realise is that with the introduction of QUOCS otherwise known as Qualified One Way Cost Shifting then unless the Defendant makes an early formal offer and subsequently a Court orders a lower amount or alternatively the Defendant proves that the Claimant has been fundamentally dishonest, then the Defendant will have to pay the Claimant’s costs whether or not the Claimant wins or loses.  A Defendant will therefore need to consider very seriously the economics of defending the case or whether they need to borrow monies to “pay off” the Claimant.
If you have a dog as a pet, then you would be wise to check your household cover and/or pet insurance to see if you are covered for Third Party Public Liability. If not, then you may wish to consider membership with the Charity Dogs Trust for £25.00 per year (half price for the over 60’s) which includes Third Party Public Liability if your dog causes damage or injury to another person, their property or pets.
For further information, please call 0800 088 6004.