Macks’ client, who was 43 years old at the time, was severely injured when they were attacked by a cow in a field whilst walking their dog.
Background to the accident
The client was walking their dog on their usual route. They intended to cross a field using a public right of way when they observed there were two black cows in the field, one of which they noticed looked distressed and agitated. Therefore, the client decided to walk around the field and as they did so, the cow that they noticed ran towards them and charged against the fence. To our client’s horror, the cow got through the fence and headbutted them repeatedly, knelt on them, laid on them and attempted to crush them. It was an extremely traumatic event which our client was lucky to survive.
Our client was taken to hospital by ambulance where it was confirmed They had suffered 10 fractured ribs, a collapsed right lung, a perforated left lung, soft tissue injuries to their neck, back, and leg, a dislocated left shoulder, cuts to their face, chest, right leg and both arms, and psychological injury including PTSD. They spent eight nights in the hospital, including four nights in an intensive care unit.
At the time of the accident, our client was a student primary school teacher and part-time fitness instructor. They were also keen horse rider who competed in equine events. They had to take three months away from their studies and job to recover but even after this time they could not sit comfortably in lectures and classes and developed PTSD. They also suffered an exacerbation of their personality disorder and their anxiety and depressive disorder. Therefore, they were unable to complete their studies. Our client was also a single parent of three children and their 13-year-old acted as their main carer.
The client had to sleep upright for three months because of their fractured ribs which required a significant amount of pain relief. It took almost six months for their chest injuries to recover. They have been left with several permanent wounds on their face and on their right forearm which causes social embarrassment.
The Animals Act 1971 (the Act) is a notoriously difficult piece of legislation to interpret. It must be proved either that the animal is of a dangerous species, or if not dangerous, that the three elements are satisfied. The damage the animal caused was likely to be severe unless restrained, the likelihood of the damage being severe was due to the characteristics of the animal which are not normally found in animals of the same species or are not normally so found except in particular circumstances, and those characteristics were known to that keeper. Only if these elements are satisfied is the keeper of the animal liable for the damage.
A keeper of an animal which belongs to a dangerous species is strictly liable for any damage that the animal causes. The cow was a ‘Limousin Cross’ which is not a species that is commonly domesticated in the British Isles, and when fully grown it has characteristics that are likely, unless restrained, to cause severe damage or any damage they cause likely to be severe. Therefore, the Claimant argued the cow was classed as a dangerous species. Alternatively, if it was not accepted that the animal was dangerous, the three elements stated above were pleaded.
The Defendant’s denied the cow was a dangerous species. They further denied the three elements of the Act and stated the animal was not likely to attack anyone passing and the cow had never previously attacked any person; they denied any damage caused by the animal was likely to be severe; and they stated the cow had never acted in an aggressive manner and considered it to be a docile animal.
They further alleged the Claimant was at fault for their injuries as they failed to keep their dog under control which caused the cow to be aggressive and attack them, they exposed themselves to the risk of injury by failing to control their dog and by trespassing.
With the claim fully defended, it was prepared for trial. Animal expert evidence was obtained along with further medical evidence. We were confident the claim would be successful.
As the claim progressed, the Defendants suggested a ‘Joint Settlement Meeting’ (JSM) which is a meeting held with both parties and their representatives to discuss the claim with a view to achieving a settlement. The JSM was held, and no agreement was reached. However, later that day the Defendants made a substantially increased offer which was accepted. It brought to an end a difficult claim with our client being very pleased with the outcome.
“I asked Macks Solicitors to help me with my personal injury claim after I was attacked by a cow while out walking my dog. I suffered really serious injuries including a collapsed lung, a serious shoulder injury, PTSD and depression. I was in an awful state and didn’t know what to do but from the moment I first contacted the Macks personal injury team, I knew I was in good hands.
Anthony and his team were extremely knowledgeable and responsive, and they worked tirelessly to ensure that my case was handled with the utmost care and attention. They were always available to answer my questions and address my concerns, and they made sure I was fully informed about the progress of my case at every step of the way.
Ultimately, thanks to the hard work and dedication of the team at Macks, I was able to secure a favourable settlement for my injuries. I am extremely grateful for their help and would highly recommend them to anyone in need of legal representation for a personal injury claim. If you are looking for a law firm that will treat you with respect, patience and compassion, while also fighting hard to get you the justice you deserve, look no further than Macks.”
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If you have been injured by a cow or bull then contact us at 01642 843 670 for a no obligation, free initial enquiry. Alternatively, complete our online contact form and one of our personal injury solicitors will be in touch.