Dog bite victim changes solicitors and recovers £50,000 compensation
Our client went to visit her partner's parents. She had not visited before and had not met their dog. She was introduced to the dog, a Japanese Akita. When her partner went to make her a cup of tea she knelt down to "cuddle" the dog. The dog growled and, still on her knees, our client moved away. However, suddenly and without warning the dog leapt forward and viciously bit her on the mouth and lip.
She was taken to the local Accident and Emergency department where she was kept in over night before being transferred to hospital the following morning. She received plastic surgery under general anaesthetic, the surgery lasting for four and half hours. Her lip was reconstructed and stitches were put in her chin. The injuries were extensive and she lost approximately 40% of the full thickness of her lower lip. She also suffered loss of sensation and was left with unsightly scarring.
As is often the case with dog bite cases, our client experienced severe psychological symptoms and was diagnosed as suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Our client initially instructed a national firm of solicitors to bring a dog bite compensation claim on her behalf, but was unhappy with the slow progress they were making with her claim. As a result she turned to specialist dog bite compensation claim solicitors Slee Blackwell. We were able to take over conduct of her claim and work on a No Win, No Fee basis.
We immediately made contact with the dog owner and obtained evidence of our client's injuries. We asked a consultant Craniofacial, Aesthetic and Reconstructive Plastic Surgeon, to prepare a medical report. The expert noted the seriousness of the injury and was also of the opinion that unless the her psychological issues were addressed the symptoms were likely to persist.
With this in mind a Consultant Psychiatrist was instructed. He concluded that she had signs and symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder which were affecting her quality of life in a significant way. He was of the opinion that it had also affected her career, as she was unable to return to her face-to-face sales job due to the psychological impact of the trauma, instead opting for telesales work as an alternative, which was not as rewarding financially or emotionally. He added that if the appropriate treatment was provided there was a strong chance she would be able to manage her social anxieties and that her PTSD symptoms would improve. He felt she might not be able to get her old life back completely, but with therapeutic treatment she may be better able to cope with the changes, which in turn would improve her self-esteem and self-worth, and that if further medical procedures were available they may make her feel more confident.
A Skin Camouflage expert was also instructed who felt that addressing the client's physical appearance with aesthetic treatments would make a huge improvement to her confidence and self-esteem. Recommendations were made in respect of the cost of treatments and products available. A course of micro-medical skin needling was recommended to stimulate the skin to regenerate and repair itself naturally.
In order to enable our client to obtain compensation and funding for the treatment that had been recommended court proceedings were commenced.
This resulted in the dog owner's insurance company making an offer of £30,000 to settle the dog bite copensation claim. We advised agaisnt accepting the offer as we felt that the sum on offer was insufficient. Negotiations continued and just a few weeks after issuing court proceedings the insurance company agreed to an out of court settlement of £50,000.