The importance of specialist advice in animal injury cases


The law relating to animals and dog bites is far more complicated than many solicitors think. The common consensus appears to be that an owner of an animal will only be found liable after causing injury if it can be shown that animal has either attacked before, or at least shown aggression in similar circumstances before. This is simply incorrect and I believe that many people who have been the victim of injuries caused by animals may have been incorrectly advised that their case will not be successful.


I believe that many insurers are taking advantage of this misperception in many cases and denying liability tactically as they believe that, eventually, the claim will just go away. I have recently dealt with and successfully concluded such a case. In that case the claimant, a local councillor, was a victim of a dog bite when he put his hand through a letterbox to deliver a leaflet. The claimant started his claim with another firm of solicitors who took the case forward for him.


The defendant’s insurers/solicitors denied liability throughout, right up until the 3 year anniversary of the claim approached and the claimant and his solicitor had to decide whether they would take the case to court. The claimant’s former solicitor consulted with 2 barristers who both advised that the case did not have reasonable prospects of success and the solicitor refused to continue to act for the claimant.


The claimant contacted Aequitas Legal for advice. Despite the fact that the claim was almost 3 years old and that the previous solicitor and barrister refused the case, I agreed to take the case on a no win no fee agreement. After I made it clear to the defendant’s solicitor why I thought the defendant was liable and that we were willing to take the case all the way to a trial if necessary, we were able to negotiate a £5,000.00 settlement for the claimant.


Despite the case having rumbled on for almost 3 years before we took the case on, we managed to settle the case in a little over three months after having first spoken to the claimant.


If you have a new or existing animal injury case and would like advice, please do not hesitate to contact Aequitas Legal’s New Enquiries Team.