Mr H had gone out to put some waste into the recycling bin near his house when the neighbour’s dog suddenly bit his leg. After lifting his trousers up Mr H noticed that there was skin missing. After notifying the neighbour, who denied that the dog had bitten him Mr H sought treatment from a Walk-In Centre. Two days later Mr H felt ill and he was referred to Hospital. Despite receiving further treatment Mr H's symptoms became worse and he was again referred to hospital where he remained an impatient for one week. Mr H initially instructed another firm of solicitors who received a denial of liability and felt unable to assist further. Mr H then instructed Dog bite solicitors Slee Blackwell.
Initial investigations into liability were undertaken on behalf of Mr H and a detailed response was provided to the Defendants denial of liability in which it was maintained that the Defendant had misinterpreted the Animals Act 1971.
Despite further submissions being made the Defendants maintained their stance with respect to liability and as such attention was directed towards obtaining evidence in support.
To support the Mr H's claim for damages it was necessary to instruct a Consultant Plastic Surgeon. The expert confirmed that the dog bite itself was relatively minor but that Mr H appeared to have developed IBS as a result of a reaction to the antibiotic Augmentin which was prescribed following infection arising from the dog bite.
To determine a causal link with the diarrhoea suffered by Mr H following the incident a report was obtained from a Gastro-Enterologist.
The medical report confirmed that Mr H's acute gastrointestinal illness in June/July 2012 was caused by Clostridium Difficile infection secondary to Augmentin therapy as a result of the incident. The expert confirmed that Mr H continued to suffer from symptoms which were consistent with a post infective irritable bowel syndrome triggered by the initial infection. The expert confirmed that Mr H's ongoing symptoms were likely to be permanent in nature. The expert concluded that Mr H's persistent abdominal symptoms had led to depression and recommended a referral to a Consultant Psychiatrist. A medical report confirmed that Mr H suffered symptoms characteristic of a Depressive Disorder as a result of the incident but noted that this was an aggravation of pre-existing mental symptoms. The expert confirmed that Mr H's psychological symptoms attributable to the incident lasted about 12 months.
A witness statement from a neighbour was obtained and disclosed to the Defendants confirming that the dog in question had a history of aggressive behaviour but still the Defendants maintained that liability would be denied.
Their denial included the fact that they disputed any link between the abdominal symptoms and the incident. With the Defendant suggesting that this aspect of the claim should be considered as a clinical negligence matter it was necessary to instruct a General Practitioner, to prepare a medical report. The medical report confirmed that the prescribing of prophylactic antibiotics for Mr H was in line with national guidance, was in his best interests and of an acceptable standard, as would be judged by a responsible body of professional opinion. On account of the fact that both liability and quantum remained in dispute and with expiry of limitation approaching it was necessary to issue proceedings. The matter was listed for trial.
The witness statement of the second Defendant acknowledged the fact that the dog ran over to and jumped up at the Claimant. Medical evidence confirmed he had been bitten. The Defendants were once again invited to admit liability due to their clearly untenable position. A month before trial and following further negotiations between the parties settlement was agreed in the sum of £36,000.00.
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