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A little old lady's small dog has nipped another, rather younger elderly lady, on the shin. WWYD?

(12 Posts)
OCSockOrphanage Thu 15-Sep-16 12:28:24

This little dog, all 5.5kg of him, rehomed from a breeder who didn't use him as a stud (under size, now castrated) has always been unhappy near young men though okay with most other people, but he is very easily frightened.

So one day, he is trotting around town on his lead with DMIL and another unknown lady barges past them in a hurry. Small dog (handbag size) nips unknown lady just above the ankle. She duly complained to the police who send a dog handler to visit DMIL at home. Of course, the small dog behaves perfectly and is friendly to police man; he tells DMIL that she must muzzle the doggie defendant when he goes out, which she has done.

Now, DMIL has been served notice that she is being sued, and is panicked. Does anyone have any knowledge or advice to offer? What level of compensation is she hoping for? (She was bruised, but I don't think blood was drawn.) Is this ambulance chasing, now that whiplash compensation is being resisted? If it comes to court, what precedents are there? DMIL is nearly 82, and does not have oodles of money, FWIW.

MaitlandGirl Thu 15-Sep-16 12:49:00

Does she have pet insurance? A lot of them have public liability included in them.

Try giving Trevor Cooper a call (his legal firm are dog specialist) - it's not a free/standard rate call but they're very good and won't waffle on to push the cost of the call up.

OCSockOrphanage Thu 15-Sep-16 12:50:57

No, I don't think she does... will ask. Thanks for the link.

Blackfellpony Thu 15-Sep-16 16:14:07

Sorry, I don't have any real advice but can she contact a solicitor?

Your poor Mil though it must be very stressful for her!

BombadierFritz Thu 15-Sep-16 16:24:14

its probably only in case she has pet insurance, who might actually pay up. if she doesnt then I would think they will just go away and not bother suing

BombadierFritz Thu 15-Sep-16 16:27:31

you could ask in legal on here as well. personally I would not pay out for solicitors etc unless I had to but.that might be bad legal advice

BombadierFritz Thu 15-Sep-16 18:09:38

I was interested so had a quick google. the sites all seem to say that to have a case it has to be predictable eg maybe a past history of biting. also that there is no point suing if they have no money (aka pet insurance)

Pigeonpost Thu 15-Sep-16 18:17:18

I'm a personal injury lawyer. Dog bite cases are quite hard to win. This dog was on a lead and had no previous 'form' so doesn't sound like it was obviously risky. Injuries sound v v v minor indeed. What do you mean by served notice of being sued? A letter of claim from a firm of solicitors? It has to follow a certain protocol to be done properly, you can't just issue court proceedings. If she has pet insurance then she needs to contact them. Otherwise her home insurers might cover, worth giving them a call too. Failing that, it is very unlikely that any decent solicitor would advise the bitten lady to proceed with a claim in the absence of any insurance company to pay out. Any judgment against your MIL would have to be enforced through the Courts and given the likely extent of the injury sound unlikely to be worth doing. If bitten lady had come to me it is unlikely I would have advised her to take any action based on what you've said her. Unless of course the wound became infected and her leg had to be amputated etc etc. Unlikely though...

OCSockOrphanage Sat 17-Sep-16 17:07:56

Thank you for your useful input, PigeonPost; she received a letter from a solicitor asking for details of her insurance. There is no pet insurance, and she phoned her home insurers to ask their advice; one of their in-house lawyers called back to say it would not be part of her cover as the public liability cover is valid only within her property. I have drafted a letter for her explaining this and suggesting that if their client is hoping for compensation, to think again as DMIL only has her state pension.

BombadierFritz Sat 17-Sep-16 19:44:08

good luck with it all. i'm sure you dont need it as they will not bother once they find out no insurance, but it sounds a big stress flowers

OCSockOrphanage Sat 17-Sep-16 20:34:34

Thank you too, BombadierFitz! Love the name!

DSis organised the dog, and it has been a bit of an issue all round as it's not the way we would have got a dog and we have had lots of dogs It had to be this, and that, and the other...........

I think it's ambulance chasing, but DMIL is perturbed. I may have to lay down the law a bit, which is not what I do , left to my own devices.

EasyToEatTiger Sat 17-Sep-16 21:55:40

You poor thing. Your poor DMIL. flowers. Something similar happened to me a few years ago when my dog was sniffing around and a couple of people leapt out of a bush and he barked then they tried to grab him. I was shouted at and went off on my merry way and came back to the car to find a policeman waiting for me. I told the policeman what I had seen and he told me he thought the people were looking for trouble and to take care. It sounds as though your MIL has done all the things she should have done, and the nipee is out to cause trouble.

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