Woman wins €30,000 in claim against sister
A WOMAN who received a leg injury as the result of an incident involving a loose dog was awarded €30,000 damages in a civil action against her sister.
Caroline O’Leary, of 33 Cronin Lawn, Shannon, Co. Clare, brought a civil action against Laura Tier, with an address of Sheephouse, Bridgetown, County Wexford, arising out of an injury received on October 5, 2014.
Counsel for the Plaintiff, Mary O’Dwyer, B.L., told Judge Alice Doyle at Wexford Circuit Civil Court told the court that Caroline O’Leary was visiting her sister’s house on October 5, 2014.
Ms O’Dwyer said the plaintiff was out in the garden when a dog named Leo, a lurcher/greyhound, and a second dog, a Jack Russell, ran up the garden. The big dog was chasing the Jack Russell and ran into the plaintiff causing significant injury, a haematoma, to her shin. She said that special damages of €800 had been agreed, and added that the injury is permanent and not going to resolve itself.
In evidence Caroline O’Leary said she was sitting out in the garden when she noticed the dogs running. At the time she was having a cup of tea, but as she got up and turned, the dog Leo crashed into her leg, leaving her with a significant injury.
The plaintiff said the dog named Leo was quite a big dog. She had seen the small terrier around but was not aware the other dog was in the garden.
Ms O’Leary said that when she saw the speed at which the dogs were travelling up the garden, she did try to get out of the way. After the dog collided with her, the leg became black, she said.
Ms O’Leary, who was down visiting her sister for a few days at the time, said that after the incident she told her sister the dog had crashed into her leg. Later the haematoma developed.
She went to the doctor not realising how bad her leg was injured. She said that after the leg was X-rayed she could have had it cut open but decided to wait to and see how it got on.
Ms O’Leary also said that the collision left a dent in the leg which she has been told will be permanent. While she is receiving medication, driving can be very painful and there is also significant pain while walking.
She said that she told her sister she was making a claim and that her sister in turn notified the insurance company.
Responding to questions from Defence Counsel, William Fitzgerald, she said that the dogs did not attack her, but the big dog colliding with her leg.
Mr. Fitzgerald said that in relation to the control of dogs there is a strict liability which does not apply in this case, at it suggests an attack by dogs.
He maintained that the plaintiff had made a claim for negligence, but that she has to prove that the defendant was negligent, and there was no evidence before the court that this was the case.
However, Judge Doyle said she is satisfied there was negligence. She pointed out that this dog has the protensity to run ‘like a lunatic’ and collide with people. In her opinion the defendant was negligent as she should have kept the animal in a pen for the dogs located at the back of the garden.
Judge Doyle said the plaintiff ’s injury has not gotten better and has left a noticeable depression on the shin which is unlikely to change with time. It’s likely she will get swelling into the future, with the probability of further improvement minimal.
In addition, said the judge, the injury is painful on long journeys while driving and also while walking.
Judge Doyle awarded Caroline O’Leary €30,000 damages with €800 special damages. She also awarded costs to the plaintiff.