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Car accident due to dog on road -feel bad but need to ask re liability

31 replies

piffle · 28/02/2005 11:08

Last night we had car accident, a German Shepherd and it's mate had escaped from home and ran out onto dual carriageway main A road. We hit the dog and it was killed, our cars front end and undercarriage has been trashed. luckily there was no car behind us or next to us at the time and we were both ok.
We called the police and RSPCA and RAC etc.
The dog owner turned up as he put 2+2 together looking out back noticing his dogs were gone and seeing blue flashing lights and a crashed car. He was very apologetic towards us and fully accepted the blame.
The police man said we may need to sue the man civilly (or instruct our insurance to do it)as he has no public liability insurance on his dogs.
Now our excess is only £100. We have protected no claims, now I know this guy should have watched his dogs better but this family had two kids who were gutted.
I mentioned to DH that perhaps if we just asked the owner if he was able to pay or contribute to the excess and then we would not need to raise the issue of suing...
Is this out of our hands?
I feel like total shit about this, DH is being all alpha male and practical. It is our call whether we instruct the insurance legal team or not so I suggested the excess example to try and ont involve legal.
What do I do for best?

OP posts:
vict17 · 28/02/2005 11:10

Sorry, I can't give any practical advice, but just wanted to say don't feel bad as it sounds like it wasn't your fault, and even only more car drivers were as responsible as you

vict17 · 28/02/2005 11:10

sorry should read if only

MummytoSteven · 28/02/2005 11:10

i think this is out of your hands if you are going to claim on your insurance at all, since if the insurance are going to cover the cost of your repairs, then they will want to get their money back if they can, if there is a potentially liable third party. i.e if you don't instruct the insurance legal team, your insurers may do so anyway.

piffle · 28/02/2005 11:14

we spoke to the insurers they said as we have extra legal cover we need to instruct, they won't be going for it as there was not another insured driver to recoup from, it is down to us... we have to hire a car as well at our expense so there are costs to us and DH wants to sue for these... I am arguing as I have a broken bone in my hand and cannot drive anyway and DH has motorcycle so would not use a car anyway
hence dilemma

OP posts:
LIZS · 28/02/2005 11:14

I don't think it is just up to you though. Your insurance company would be the ones to reclaim their losses from the owner as you are only down the excess. Even if you decide not to, they may still proceed.

Branster · 28/02/2005 11:16

oh poor you. what a trauma. good you're all OK.
and the poor guy with the dog. he and his family must be heartbroken.
i would say keep it straightforward and let the insurance company deal with it. the dog might have been insured in which case the dog insurance might pay out something on behalf of the man in question.

Anteater · 28/02/2005 11:18

Our randy Lab got knocked over a while ago, the guys car looked like he had driven into a tree.. new cars are designed to crumple on impact. Anyway the upshot was dog was fine and our household insurance coughed up nearly £2000 for the damage to car. We now have a clause which states Lab must be under control..(obviously they dont know about the call of the wild, picked him up ay 10pm last night 4 miles away!)
So the guys household policy should cover his dogs.

LIZS · 28/02/2005 11:20

Sorry post x'd. We hit a deer a few years ago and the car front end was trashed. Had to cover the cost of a hire car ourselves for about a month as every time the garage removed a section, more damage was revealed and parts took ages. Almost got to the point of right-off even though the car was only a couple of years old. We had no means of cost recovery as it was a wild deer. Given that you may have similar costs and are injured you should probably instruct to cover yourselves - you could always drop it later on.

JanH · 28/02/2005 11:21

Glad you are both OK, piffle - awful situation all round.

Don't you get public liability cover with house insurance? Or is that only for if someone gets injured on your property?

I think you have to let the insurance company handle it though.

JanH · 28/02/2005 11:22

X-posted, Anteater! So as long as the guy has house insurance he should be covered?

Your randy Lab sounds like Terminator-dog!

Anteater · 28/02/2005 11:23

Yes JanH, you do, and thats where the money was claimed from, by the driver of the car.

Anteater · 28/02/2005 11:27

Our other dog got knocked over a few weeks ago, by, wait for it, our vet! And we got the bill for treatment (cream for grazed balls!!) £30!! The only upshot is that Mrs A has become very skilled at the application of testicle creams

coppertop · 28/02/2005 11:29

Sorry but PMSL at Anteater!!!

piffle · 28/02/2005 11:30

hopefully then his house ins might cover him, he def has no pet insurance.
It was weird as I thought our insurers would automatically pursue it but they said no, we had to deal sep with their legal dept we have extra legal cover as a paid perk on our insurance for exactly this situation
Glad your dog was ok ant, this dog sadly was killed on impact it was a 70 mph dual carriageway. It is being assessed tomorrow so we shall see, it is a only a 2yr old car so hopefully it will be ok, it is amazing how they disintegrate but apparently this is a good thing...
No doubt the legal dept will tell dh what coverage this chap might have...

OP posts:
Freckle · 28/02/2005 14:38

Certainly the owner's household insurance should have public liability cover. However, if your insurers won't pursue the matter (and tbh I would rather deal with it myself anyway and insurance companies are notoriously inefficient in these matters), you might like to ask them if they want to include their losses in any claim you make, on the basis that they pay a proportionate amount of the costs. Even if you recover costs from a defendant in a civil matter, the amount recovered doesn't always equal the amount you have to pay so it would be useful to have someone else covering the costs.

piffle · 28/02/2005 20:33

god it has just gotten so complicated
our insurers are going after him for the repairs to the car, about £5k as it stands
We are to go separately for our excess and incurred costs.
RAC are also going for the for the cost of pickup and transport to assessors yard and also as RAC have given us onward car hire as part of our premium service, they aim to recover that too.
I feel like such a bitch about this, this poor guy, I just hope like hell he is insured, apparently they live in a leasehold where buildings ins is paid and they cannot confirm hh insurance as yet...

OP posts:
Freckle · 28/02/2005 20:43

Do be aware that you can only issue one court case for losses arising from a particular incident. So each of you with losses (you, your insurers, RAC) will have to issue a joint claim. If one of you issues for just your own losses, you will preclude the others from issuing to recover their losses. So ensure that your insurers do not issue proceedings without including your losses.

The reasoning behind this is so that the defendant doesn't get landed with costs for each set of proceedings, when all losses could have been dealt with within one court case.

piffle · 01/03/2005 09:23

I think its only us that would require a court case as the RAC and insurers will claim of his insurance IF he has it.
Aside from that I imagine the legal team would handle it all..Now I find the police are also pressing charges..
FFS this seems like madness beyond comprehension.

OP posts:
NomDePlume · 01/03/2005 09:27

I had helpful advice piffle, but just wanted to say, sorry about your accident

NomDePlume · 01/03/2005 09:27

Sorry, meant to say I don;t have helpful advice ! No idea where I had helpful.... came from

Freckle · 01/03/2005 09:41

Why can the insurers and RAC claim off his insurance, but not you?? If he is liable and has cover, then his insurers should cover all your losses. If he doesn't have insurance and a court case is needed, it will probably need to cover all losses, including those incurred by your insurers and the RAC.

JanH · 01/03/2005 09:46

Thing is, piffle, either or both of you could have been badly hurt or worse, and you could have swerved to avoid the dog and hit another car, all because the dog wasn't under proper control - I think the police are obliged to take action as an example to other dog owners if they think the owner was negligent.

oops · 01/03/2005 11:00

Message withdrawn

Anteater · 01/03/2005 12:14

Agree dogs should be kept under control in urban areas and near main roads but in rural areas they are often left to their own devices..

jangly · 01/03/2005 12:16

I think you're being over sympathetic tbh. It could have been horrific!

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