Postal worker awarded £1,500 compensation after dog attack


A 27 year-old postman from Dalton-in-Furness who was bitten by a dog while on an unfamiliar round has won a compensation claim of £1,500.

Dog Bite

The postman was attacked as he delivered a parcel to an address which had been the scene of a previous attack by the same dog.

The attack, on 3 September 2012, caused the postman to suffer bite wounds, recovery from which forced him to take time off work.

The attack happened when a young man, later identified as the householders' son, opened the front door to accept the parcel delivery. The dog, a west highland terrier, escaped and bit the postman on his right leg.

After we were instructed to claim damages by the Communication Workers' Union, postal co-workers of the victim came forward with similar stories.

Previous attack – by the same dog

It transpired that the postman's predecessor on that delivery round had been attacked the previous February by the same 'westie', which is 1 of 2 dogs kept at the property.

"Those dogs were always a threat behind the letter box when mail was being posted," attested the co-worker in a witness statement. "The letter box is quite low so I personally felt threatened when posting. Subsequently the householder put a cage on the back of the door so that our hands were protected from the dogs."

Following the earlier incident the co-worker was advised by her and our client's employer, the Royal Mail, not to knock at the door with parcels, but to leave a standard card or to try and deliver to a neighbour's house.

However, our client was officially working a different duty round on the day of his injury. For this reason, and despite the earlier attack, he had little knowledge of the danger posed by the dog.

Owner was warned

Royal Mail had also contacted the householder after the earlier incident, warning him of the hazard his dog posed and asking him to keep it under control.

As well as the evidence of our client and the original victim, we obtained confirmation of the dog's aggression from other Royal Mail employees who had delivered to the same address.

Failed to respond

Since evidence proved that the owner was aware of his dog's more vicious tendencies, the onus was on him to ensure the animal was secured whenever postal workers were lawfully on his property.

However, he failed to respond to Royal Mail's letters of complaint and the hazardous situation was allowed to prevail.

In due course the householder's insurers agreed a compensation settlement for our client of £1,500, in respect of his injury, loss of earnings and other expenses incurred as a result of this incident.

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