Animals on the Trail

Animals on the Trail

After an ABR reader hits a dog while riding, Andrew Dalton explains why his insurance company should not pay out

I was riding my trusty F650 GS along a single lane, badly broken up single track C class county road just as dusk was falling. A border collie ran out of a farmyard, straight into my path. I hit the dog. I stayed on.

My battered bike was no more battered, the dog was in a terrible state. A youngish woman ran out after the dog, got quite hysterical, and in something out of deliverance an older man came out, looked at the dog, who was clearly in distress and badly injured went back into the farmhouse, got his shotgun, and shot the dog in the head. It was a very weird day.

I called the police, because the day was just so weird, and they turned up, made some sympathetic noises to everyone, and then got back into their car. I thought no more of it until about six weeks after the collision, I got a letter from a local solicitor, telling me that the dog was a “highly trained and valuable working dog” and demanding a couple of thousand pounds for the purchase of a new dog and its training.

Do I have to pay this? Or does my insurance cover it? And if it does, will I lose my no claims bonus.


In answer to your first three questions, you do not have to pay this, and whilst your insurance would cover it, in order for this dog owner to bring a claim she has to prove negligence on your part, and there is none, and what you need to watch out for is your insurers paying off the dog owner, a few hundred pounds, and then stuffing your no claims bonus, then reaping in thousands of pounds, over the course of the next few years an increased premium.

“…it is an offence to “cause or omit” a dog to be on a designated road without a dog being on a lead.”

You certainly did have a weird day, but the starting point is that it is an offence to “cause or omit” a dog to be on a designated road without a dog being on a lead. Secondly as the dog was unlawfully running loose and uncontrolled negligence will be presumed against the owner. If the owner can show a credible story as to how the dog got onto the road without negligence, there might be a defence to a claim that you might bring, but it does not give her a claim against you.

The letter from the solicitors, is about as weird as your day. I have read the letter. No actual negligence has been alleged against you in the bizarre letter sent to you by a solicitor who I have checked. His specialist area is estate planning and agricultural land transactions, it shows. He clearly has not got the first clue about litigation.

Send the letter to your insurers and make it crystal clear that your insurers are to make no offers to the careless dog owner. You need to watch out that they do not pay out on this claim on “a commercial basis” and then spank you for the next five years as a result of your “fault” claim.

Andrew Dalton

Adventure Bike Rider – January / February 2020

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Posted by Andrew Dalton. Last modified: November 27, 2020 at 1:42 pm

Andrew Dalton is a highly experienced trial lawyer who delights in taking on difficult and demanding motorcycle cases. He has a tough and relentless litigation style and is utterly focused on getting the best possible outcomes for his clients.
Disclaimer: The legal advice and statements contained within this/these articles is correct at the time of printing. If you are seeking legal advice after a motorbike accident please contact us to speak directly with one of our lawyers.
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Rob Forrester
Rob Forrester
3 months ago

Thanks Andrew for the follow-up. Love the articles. Always one of the regular emails I read with interest.

Andrew Dalton
Andrew Dalton
3 months ago

Sadly Rob, every insurance policy I have seen has a clause which gives the insurer the right to settle. When this has happened there has been a mixed bag of success when the rider complains. I do not know what happened in this case but I have not heard back from the chap involved so I presume the problem went away. However the usual outcome, where an insurer pays up against the direct instructions of their insured (where the insured has good reason) the insurer as a compromise does not end no claims bonus. That tends to be acceptable rather than a full blown referral to the Ombudsman.

Rob Forrester
Rob Forrester
3 months ago

Following on from this, what would he do if the insurers ignore his instructions and pay out regardless? Would he have a case against his own insurance company, or just have to suck it up?

Andy Conde
Andy Conde
3 months ago

I do enjoy reading these, especially the way you put it in plain English. Have you finished the Honda yet or have you given up?
Best regards

About Adventure Bike Rider

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Andrew Dalton has written articles in Adventure Bike Rider for a few years now. Founder and Publisher of Adventure Bike Rider, Alun Davies, explains how the magazine came about.

"Adventure Bike Rider came into existence for three reasons; first there was my lifelong passion for travel and motorcycles; secondly there was a huge hole in the UK motorcycle media for a magazine that focused on the booming adventure bike sector and thirdly I had a motorcycle accident that curtailed one of my other passions in life - climbing mountains."

"The plus side of wiping out on a rocky trail in Spain is all the free time that comes with having a bust up arm, foot and leg. And what better use of that recovery time than to set up and launch ABR magazine."

"That was back in 2009 and since then ABR has grown to become the largest adventure bike community in the world. During an average week our social media reach nudges 1 million, on a good week that doubles to 2 million. This website has a thriving community of adventure riders and hosts the busiest adventure forum in the UK with hundreds of thousands of readers and visitors from around the world."

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