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Dog ran out in front of car. Claiming costs

(35 Posts)

Hello,

Hope somebody can help me. Just before Xmas my partner was driving to work. The road is 60 limit and he was doing about 55. As he was driving he saw a large gate open and a dog ran out of it and straight into the road. DP was unable to avoid hitting it and sadly he did.

The owner ran out, scooped up the dog who was very badly injured and put the dog in his car and drove off. DP was very shaken up by it and spoke to two people who saw the incident.

DPs car was quite badly damaged and needed over £500 worth of work. He has paid out of pocket rather than claim via insurance as excess plus loss of NCB would be more. DP has not been able to speak to the owner but we know his name and address.

DP feels terrible about the dog but also we cannot afford to take the hit, we have a 7 week old baby and I'm on Mat Leave. I know that legally the owner is liable as dog was out of control. If owner has pet insurance then this would cover the cost of repairs. If not, then DP will have to pursue via small claims.

Sooo, how to phrase the initial letter asking owner to pay the costs of repair? We don't know if the dog survived (seems unlikely) and it seems a bit crass not to mention it at all, but on the other hand DP doesn't want to do anything that indicates he is liable as he is not, the witnesses confirmed that he was not speeding and the dog was out of control.

Can anybody help us draft a letter that shows DP feels bad about dog but that accident not his fault and that he should not be left in a worse financial position?

Lonecatwithkitten Mon 13-Jan-14 19:05:22

Did he report the accident to the police? There is a legal requirement to do this when a dog is involved. He if didn't he might want to think about whether it will create more problems than it resolves.
Normal drivers car insurance would deal directly with dog owners public liability insurance.

Hoppinggreen Mon 13-Jan-14 20:56:14

As the other post says you need to report an accident involving a dog to the police.
Let your insurance company deal with it.

SirChenjin Mon 13-Jan-14 20:59:54

Am I right in thinking you didn't go through your insurance company?

mysteryfairy Mon 13-Jan-14 21:01:41

I don't think using the legal cover on your car insurance to pursue the dog owner for losses will impact your no claims. If I was intent on claiming I would absolutely do it via the insurance company - as you say there is no sympathetic way to phrase requesting this sort of compensation.

SantasLittleMonkeyButler Mon 13-Jan-14 21:03:25

Can OP involve the insurance company at this stage? Would they not have to see the damage & arrange a repair after that to be interested?

If you didn't report the accident to the Police & didn't have your car assessed by your insurers, where is the proof that the accident even occurred? Or that the damage done was as you state?

I'm NOT saying I doubt you at all BTW, just trying to identify possible problems.

SirChenjin Mon 13-Jan-14 21:20:34

I would echo the others - I think you should make a call to your insurance company to see if they can do anything and let them deal with the any unpleasantness. I'm not sure where you stand given that you didn't make a claim for repairs, but hopefully someone else will have a better idea - it won't hurt to make a phone call, at least.

prh47bridge Mon 13-Jan-14 22:31:24

Your insurance policy is likely to require you to notify your insurers in the event of any accident regardless of whether or not you make a claim. You should do so.

TheCraicDealer Mon 13-Jan-14 22:48:59

This happened to an acquaintance of mine, except it happened at 11pm and he was on a bike. He was thrown off, broke his pelvis, an arm, most of his ribs and cracked his skull and was unconscious for a week. His daughter found him lying at the side of the road beside the dog's owner, who kindly gave a fake name and address. They can't trace them to intimate a claim, despite having had to take a number of months off work on SSP.

Anyway, providing the incident was reported to police (which I suspect it wasn't) then go through Insurers. A letter from one of their appointed solicitors will probably get a response more quickly- people get freaked out more when it's correspondence from a well known insurer rather than a potentially "chancy" personal claim which might go away if they ignore it long enough.

If your DH didn't report it I'd just write it off. Might be more trouble than it's worth.

Giraffeski Mon 13-Jan-14 23:06:09

Do dog owners have to have public liability insurance then?

HoneyDragon Mon 13-Jan-14 23:09:06

Not all dog owners pay for public liability, no.

It is part of packages though.

HoneyDragon Mon 13-Jan-14 23:11:50

I can't understand why you didn't go through your insurance though?

I'm also unsure about small claims unless you have absolute proof who the dogs owner was and if they are liable.

If you'd hit any other animal what would you have done?

DP did go through the insurance company initially so the work was assessed and he got a quote etc. DP decided to pay out of pocket and cancelled the claim last week. God knows why, he just did

I don't know if he reported to the police, I suspect not. He has an annoying tendency to just do things rather than thinking through and takes advice from everybody EXCEPT me even when I know the other person is talking rubbish. He also won't look stuff up or ask about other optios.

If it had been another animal then it either would have done less damage or DP would have just had to get on with it. We live in a semi-rural area and the cattle and sheep are pretty slow crossing the road so you have time to avoid them. DP said this dog just bolted out from the gate.

I suspect he might just have to bear the costs which means I will hear him moaning about it which is the biggest issue for me as I am knackered with a grizzly baby!

I don't really understand.

Legally, he must notify the police.

What do you mean, that if it'd been another animal it'd have done less damage of he'd 'have to get on with it'? Obviously if he'd hit most big animals it'd have been worse damage. Surely if he isn't claiming on insurance or reporting it, it is a bit cheeky and illegal to expect to claim costs?!

If the dog was allowed to roam freely on the highway, the dogs owner is liable for injury to the dog and also damage to your car. This may or may not be covered by insurance held by the dog owner.

However, you are legally required to report any road accident involving dogs.....

HoneyDragon Tue 14-Jan-14 07:42:47

Hence my confusion. If he didn't report it to the police at the time he could be in trouble.

And trust me a fox or deer running in front of your car is a lot more damaging.

I think given how he has handled it so far he will not get a very good reception from the poor dog owner dog owner matter how nicely the letter is worded hmm

Also, it will cost at least £50 to go through the small claims court which it does not like you can afford.

Not to mention if the dog died the insurance would be cancelled after it paid out for treatment.

Plus, there is no way an informal letter would not be contested by the dogs insurance company if the owner did have liability insurance. They should have been contacted by your dhs insurers.

JumpingJackSprat Tue 14-Jan-14 08:11:11

What if the dog owner decides to counter claim for your dh killing/injuring the dog? They only have your DHs word for how it happened. If the owner says somethingelse will come down to one persons word against another and if your husband loses he is at risk of costs so he would be even more out of pocket. Can't believe he hasn't given his details to the dog owner actually because he may well have a claim against you depending on the specific circumstances.

YomAsalYomBasal Tue 14-Jan-14 08:16:50

I was in a similar situation. The dog ran off but a passer by happened to know where the dog lived. We had to prove negligence on the part of the owner, a one off incident of the dog being out alone would not have been enough evidence. Fortunately the dog warden was able to give a statement about how many times he had picked up the dog in the past so we had a claim. I did use our insurance company though and don't understand why you wouldn't!

Molecule Tue 14-Jan-14 10:41:51

As the dog owner was there, surely it doesn't matter that it wasn't reported to the police? If the dog was insured, the fact it may be dead is irrelevant as the damage was caused whilst it was very much alive, and thus covered by the insurance. Perhaps a solicitor's letter would be appropriate and see what sort of response you get.

HoneyDragon Tue 14-Jan-14 11:12:13

The law states you need to inform the police if you hit a dog.

SirChenjin Tue 14-Jan-14 13:25:44

JumpingJackSprat - there were 2 witnesses, so it's not a case of the OPs word against that of the dog owner's

Boreoff456 Tue 14-Jan-14 19:16:07

I thought in these cases you would have to prove the owner negligent. Where this could be a one off and pure accident.

Hulababy Tue 14-Jan-14 19:21:04

I think it is now probably too late.
It shpuld have been reported to police at the time, and then all the necessary paperwork and contacts would have been done at same time too.

I don't think that it might be a one off would be an issue though. Owner could still be negligent even for a one off. The gate was open. The dog ran across the road in front of a car. It was obviously not being restrained, etc. So - yes, the owner would surely be at fault, whether intentional or not. OP says there are witnesses too.

Sneezecakesmum Tue 14-Jan-14 22:37:01

If the dog owner did not have pet insurance he would still be liable to pay for the damage to your car regardless.

Report it to the police retrospectively, you won't be hanged for not reporting!!! They may give you an idea of the easiest way to proceed.

Fwiw. My son reported a broken car window (crime) which he repaired himself, but just asked their advice and when he came to renew they treated it as a claim despite him pointing out he hadn't 'claimed'. confused

Sneezecakesmum Tue 14-Jan-14 22:37:53

Bore. Of course the owner is negligent. Dogs should be restrained near roads.

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