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Title: Dog causes accident

Date: 03 August 2015

I was riding down a country lane in Staffordshire last week when a jack russell suddenly ran out from a driveway in to the road causing me to swerve and fall off. If that wasn’t bad enough it then came over and was barking at me while I was lying on the floor in pain! The house had a gate but obviously it was not closed. The owner apologised profusely and said he would pay for the damage to my bike. I had a quote and it is going to be £1700 to fix. However now the owner says he has no money to pay me and blames me for startling the dog with my engine causing it to run into the road. What can I do?

Jonno, by e-mail

Answer

You have three options to claim compensation from the owner. You can claim from the owner personally although clearly this would only be worthwhile if he could pay you compensation. Therefore perhaps make some enquiries as to whether he owns her house or has a job. If he owns his house you could ask the court to enforce sale to meet the damages although surely he can find £1,700 rather than having his house sold!

Otherwise an attachment to earnings order could be appropriate if he is in employment although this can often lead to very small weekly or monthly payments. It may be that he simply has this amount of money in a bank account and details of his savings will be a matter for disclosure once you have commenced court proceedings if he fails to pay up after you send him a letter of claim.

The second option would be to make enquiries as to whether or not he has pet insurance which would have third party liability cover (usually of at least £2 million). It may be that he does not know about this cover. Most responsible dog owners have such insurance.

Finally, if he has house contents insurance then this may have legal cover attached which would cover his negligence in not controlling the dog. Remember you can claim for your injuries and other financial losses too.

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