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CASE STUDY: Accidents Involving Animals

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You can never predict what may happen, particularly when animals are involved. Tilly Bailey & Irvine's personal injury solicitors explain how this was the case most recently...

Of course police officers and their equine companions are there to serve and protect members of the public. However on occasions they can cause a danger to members of the public. Given the enormous size of police horses, the injuries they cause have the potential to be tremendous and life changing.

We recently acted on behalf of two clients who suffered psychological injuries when such an accident occurred in a busy city centre.

What Happened?

The first was in York city centre with her own mother and her two children. Her youngest child was only eight months old at the time and was being pushed in her pushchair. Two mounted police officers were nearby and one of the horses knocked the eldest daughter with its side. The horse then suddenly spun round and stepped backwards. Unfortunately the horse stepped onto the pushchair, which immediately folded in half. With the young one trapped inside, you can imagine this was an absolutely horrific scene for any mother or grandmother to witness.

Thankfully, the incident was not fatal.

Both claimed for the psychological distress - of which they continue to suffer - as a result of witnessing the accident.

Symptoms and Diagnosis

The first client suffers from sleep disturbance and regularly has nightmares, flashbacks, panic attacks and ‘what if’ thoughts. Since the accident she has become very risk averse and feels the need to lock the doors at all time to ensure safety. She, understandably, is nervous about the children and is reluctant to leave her with anyone else, especially if there will be crowds. She is now fearful of horses, and was diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, which was initially moderate to severe.

It is expected that she will regain her pre-accident mental health within three years and nine months of the accident.

The second became over protective, and is especially conscious of the children around traffic. Diagnosed with suffering from a chronic adjustment disorder also and, due to other pre-existing issues, the client endures difficulties processing the accident. It is expected that she will regain her pre-accident mental health.

Although the Defendants did deny liability for the accident, TBI was able to successfully settle both claims to a combined £12,500, on a without prejudice basis.

Accidents involving animals can be complicated as the Animals Act 1971 usually applies, which is considered to be a complex piece of legislation. However, at Tilly Bailey and Irvine we have an excellent team of solicitors from Hartlepool, Stockton-on-Tees, Wynyard and Barnard Castle, who understand the rules surrounding these types of claims.

If you have been injured as a result of a police animal, or indeed any other animal, please do not hesitate to contact us on 01642 673797 where we will be happy to discuss the matter further with you. We may be able to offer you a No Win No Fee claim.