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.
Adventure Bike Rider – January / February 2020