£15,000 awarded to child injured in dog attack

£15,000 was awarded to a 5 year-old child injured in a dog attack in a neighbour's garden.

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Case details

Circumstances

The claimant who was 3 years old at the time of the attack had gone with her Mother to a neighbour's garden. The neighbour's owned a Cocker Spaniel that attacked the claimant without provocation. The claimant was bitten several times before the dog could be pulled away from the claimant.

Injuries and Progression

The claimant had a laceration to her left check. She had been bitten many times in the same area of her face causing the laceration. The claimant was initially taken to Hospital by ambulance. At Accident and Emergency she was treated for her injuries. The wounds were cleaned. The claimant had a total six sutures to her cheek area. The claimant was allowed home with her parents.

Unfortunately, within a short period of time the claimant had to be admitted to Hospital again. The claimant had developed an infection in the wound. After having a full course of antibiotics the claimant was discharged from Hospital.

The claimant was self-conscious about the scar. After her parents consulted medical experts it was decided that plastic surgery could be carried out. This was designed to improve the appearance of the scar. Two years after the accident, the claimant had the surgery which successfully smoothed out the irregularities in the cheek, improving the contour.

Settlement

The claimant's and defendant's solicitors entered into negotiations and a settlement was agreed. Any settlement involving a child is subject to the court's approval. This is where a Judge will consider all the evidence. The evidence included in this case a medical report, photographs of the scarring which had been left to the claimant's cheek and a Barrister's opinion on the proposed settlement.

The Judge considered the above evidence and also Judicial College Guidelines on facial scarring compensation amounts. The claimant was 5 years old when the Judge considered the settlement. The claimant remained self-conscious about the scar. However as she got older it was accepted that the scar could be hidden with make up. The scar was 400mm long.

The claimant was fortunate not to have suffered any psychological trauma such as a fear of dogs. The Judge approved the agreed settlement of £15,000 for the claimant's pain suffering and loss of amenity.

Read more: public place accident compensation claims

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Gaynor Haliday, Legal researcher

Author:
Gaynor Haliday, Legal researcher