Woman wins €30,000 in claim against sis­ter

Wexford People - - NEWS -

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.

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