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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71053
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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My elderly parents are being taken to small claims court,

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My elderly parents are being taken to small claims court, two small dogs ran into their front garden and because they were unloading shopping the front door was open. They have a 10 year old mongrel who is quite big and she ran out and pinned one of the dogs down. 4 puncture wounds, but the dog is ok. It did happen on their front lawn. Owner is now suing for insurance excess of £700. Police were called 3 days later, confirmed by email no case to answer. Their insurance company are not pursuing - no liability - confirmed by email. But he is making a very emotion case for the excess. Should we settle or continue to small claims?
Thanks Jackie

Have there been any other incidents with their dog?

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
No, none at all. All though she is a big dog, she is socially good (i have photos) and no other incidents
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Do you need any further information? Any thoughts or opinions?

On the face of it there isn't a case.

They could argue that leaving the door open was negligent which would create liability under the Animals Act 1971 but given that the whole incident was caused by their dogs offlead ran into your garden I would expect the reduction for contributory negligence to be 100%.

Can I clarify anything for you?


Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Their dogs were not off lead, but they were on extendable leads. Both at which were at full length and thats how they got into the garden but they are now denying. Owner turned up at the house and physically threatened my 78 year old dad, saying he was liable. He said he would pay - at that point. But we then got there 2 hours later and said no. Owner is now saying we have a contract.

Well, however they got into the garden the point is that they were there and they had no right to be.

There isn't a contract.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you. So, as I am going to end up in Small Claims Court, should i worry about the dog issue or about any initial comment by my father that he would pay? Although it was under duress and threat of violence etc - he did say that - so does that count?

Only to the extent that they could argue it is an admission of liability. It is not a contract.

If the insurance company are not willing to sue then usually that is because there is no case.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Thank you for your help. Jackie

No problem and all the best.

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