To think you should be liable if your dog causes someone to have an accident?

(54 Posts)
ylaipi Mon 07-Mar-16 07:45:03

My friend was out walking with her Weimaraner. Very friendly dog, doesn't approach people. However, he was off the lead and ran towards a woman on the footpath. Woman got scared and jumped aside, lost balance, fell and tore the ligaments in her ankle, needing surgery.

She is now suing my friend, who faces a hefty fine.

Now I'm scared of dogs and wish they would all be kept on leads everywhere but can see why friend is upset.

Who is being unreasonable here?

RaptorsCantPlayPoker Mon 07-Mar-16 07:50:41

Yes she can be sued.

It's a legal requirement that all dogs have third party insurance. I think it's something like £10 or £20 a year from the dogs trust if you choose not to fully have full pet insurance.

YABU to wish they would all be kept on leads though. Well behaved dogs should be free to roam and sniff and explore. My dog would be miserable if he was always on a lead. He is well behaved though and doesn't jump up at people.

londonrach Mon 07-Mar-16 07:51:47

Your friend. She should have had control of her dog in a public area. If she cant call him back he needs to be on a lead. I say that as a dog lover.

ExitPursuedByABear Mon 07-Mar-16 07:52:00

A legal requirement? Really? Since when?

loveulotslikejellytots Mon 07-Mar-16 07:52:08

Unfortunately I think she can be. We only have pet insurance for the public liability part, they don't seem to pay out for anything else we've claimed for (as in medical bills for our dog).

RaptorsCantPlayPoker Mon 07-Mar-16 07:53:39

Is it not?

I thought it was.

Maybe I'm wrong then.

If it's not a legal requirement then it's a very good idea.

Sorry op - I might have given you wrong info there.

mudandmayhem01 Mon 07-Mar-16 07:54:40

Most people are covered by their house insurance too.

ifyoulikepinacolada Mon 07-Mar-16 07:54:47

She should be insured for legal fees. If she doesn't have insurance then that's the risk she runs surely?

I'm a dog owner and lover but if your dog is running towards someone you call them straight back.

RidersOnTheStorm Mon 07-Mar-16 07:55:11

You are liable. Our insurance company went after the owners of an Afghan that ran into the side of our car, causing a lot of damage.

bobbywash Mon 07-Mar-16 07:55:17

Your friend may be covered under her house insurance, she should check. Also if the lady jumped aside without any contact between her and the dog, there MAY be an element of contributory negligence. Your friend needs to get lagal advice.

londonrach Mon 07-Mar-16 07:57:33

Just goggled and seems under animal act of 1971 your friend is liable. Im not a lawyer. www.thekennelclub.org.uk/media/8277/law.pdf

WienerDiva Mon 07-Mar-16 07:58:01

I really don't see how the injured party is being unreasonable at all.

The legal requirement for dogs is that they should be under control. Clearly your friend's dog wasn't and as a result, injured someone.

If she has pet insurance they will pay out, otherwise check home insurance.

WhoTheFuckIsSimon Mon 07-Mar-16 07:58:35

Your friend is being unreasonable.

This happened to a colleague of mine who had been semi retired but still worked on the bank. Her ankle was broken by the dog jumping at her. She had over six months where she couldn't work and got no money as was effectively on a zero hour contract. When she came back to work she had had so long off she had lost her confidence, worked a couple of shifts and decided she couldn't cope any longer. So lost her whole career.

tinyterrors Mon 07-Mar-16 08:03:26

You should be liable if your dog causes an accident.

If that had been my dh that had to have surgery in his ankle he'd not be able to work for months due to his job so all he'd get would be ssp which isn't even half his normal wage.

Why should someone be out if pocket for hundreds, even thousands, because an owner wasn't controlling their dog?

It's lucky we have the NHS so the injured woman isn't also suing for medical bills.

boredofusername Mon 07-Mar-16 08:22:27

Yes dog owners are responsible for accidents caused by their dogs. I read a few weeks ago that a cyclist had claimed £60K from a dog owner after being injured because of the dog (I think it was on one of those infernal retractable leads).

It's also worth all dog owners looking at the changes to dangerous dog legislation that came in around October 2014.

Your friend is probably liable on both counts - firstly for the injury (subject to any contributory negligence but I don't think jumping out of the way of an off-lead dog would be seen as being unreasonable) and secondly for criminal offence under the dangerous dog legislation.

I suggest she checks her home insurance to see if she has legal expenses cover.

stumblymonkey Mon 07-Mar-16 08:24:27

Agree with PP. The owner IS legally liable for any injuries or damage to property caused by their pets.

That's why legal cover is included on pet insurance.

And yes, you also have public liability cover on home insurance if your particular policy has this cover.

Tell her to check her home and pet insurance policies.....

Hoppinggreen Mon 07-Mar-16 08:24:47

I think I remember reading about a horse rider who sued a dog owner for quite a large amount after the dog spooked her horse and caused her pretty serious injuries.
Not sure if Liability insurance is a legal requirement but it's a really good idea as you ARE liable for damage your dog causes ( but not cats)

ExitPursuedByABear Mon 07-Mar-16 08:26:37

I agree that dog owners are liable, just that it is not a legal requirement to have insurance cover. It isn't for horses either.

Osolea Mon 07-Mar-16 08:42:02

It doesn't sound like this accident was caused by the dog to me, unless you can provide more details.

A dog running around doesn't cause people to fall over, this woman's fear did that. There are plenty of areas where dogs are allowed to run off lead, and rightly so, so if this was in one of those areas, the dog and the owner did nothing wrong.

If the dog jumped up at this woman then she would have a point, but from what you say, the dog was just running.

diddl Mon 07-Mar-16 08:50:32

Well according to the Op it was running towards her.

I don't think you need to be afraid of dogs necessarily to move out of the way if one is running towards you.

Alexa444 Mon 07-Mar-16 08:57:20

It has never been a legal requirement for dogs to be on leads. Only in heavily trafficked areas like high streets. Also this wasn't caused by the dog. It didn't jump up or bark or act aggressive, it was just running along the path, she freaked out and fell. It was kind of her own fault, really.

I once fell and sprained an ankle jumping out of the shower because I was trying to escape a spider that was about the size of a 50p. I didn't sue my mum for having it running wild in the house ffs. It was my own fault for being such a wuss. (For the record, it was a monster and I would do it again!)

JeanGenie23 Mon 07-Mar-16 09:03:33

Dog owner is at fault.

It's unfortunate she is upset but she is in the wrong. Not everyone likes dogs, and dogs no matter how well behaved, are just animals and if they are off the lead in a public area the owner has to accept responsibility if they hurt someone.

My local park has a field sectioned off for dogs to be free off the lead. It doesn't really work because a lot of owners remove the lead as soon as they enter the park. Once a dog ran straight into the play area and some of the children were scared (it was a massive dog, the Japanese bread with the curled in tail) that's irresponsible to me, and I am a dog owner.

Lockheart Mon 07-Mar-16 09:05:28

Was the dog actually running at her deliberately or was it just running along a path that she also happened to be on and minding it's own business? If the latter I fail to see how the dog was out of control.

DrunkenUnicorn Mon 07-Mar-16 09:08:31

I think you can't say unless you were there in that 'running towards her' could be a whole host of things... Running up aggressively barking, hackles up, possibly ignoring recall, then yes out of control and I would say liable. Pottering along a footpath off lead and a few meters ahead of owner and this woman has freaked of her own accord and acted completely unreasonably and caused her own injury.

I'm sure you think the first is far fetched but really it's not. I remember clearly having a similar situation with our first dog- a middle aged, sensible and sedate Labrador, trotting a few meters ahead of me and 4 year old DS, maybe 3m ahead, having a sniff and generally minding his own business at a local and busy park. This dad ran towards his young child who had been lagging behind him and was now a few meters in front of our dog, and scooped her up with a big fuss, oh are you alright, oh my goodness etc etc, whilst glaring at us. First time dog had looked in there direction was at this silly man making such a noise.

So not sure if YABU depending on behaviour of the dog... Sorry to sit on fence!!

Ameliablue Mon 07-Mar-16 09:14:44

The woman is entitled to sure as owners are liable if pretty causes an accident but it will be down to the lawyers in court to argue if the dog actually caused this accident as it may be that the dog wasn't actually that close to the woman if she was overly fearful.

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