Postal Worker Scarred For Life In Dog Attack Awarded £70,000 In Compensation

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The age old image of a dog chasing the local postman is no joke but a real and increasingly dangerous threat for thousands of postal workers. Now, one woman who was left scarred for life has been awarded £70,000 after claiming compensation for this severe dog bite injury. The postlady was a member of the Communication Workers Union 'CWU' and the case was fully funded and supported by the Legal Services Department of the Communication Workers Union.

The claimant, who wishes to remain anonymous following her successful dog bite compensation claim, was delivering post to a farm when a German Shepherd guard dog attacked her. The dog attempted to bite her face and when she tried to protect herself she suffered severe injuries to her left hand; her ring finger was almost completely torn off. The attack happened on a lane used as a public walkway which is very popular with families.

She explained: "The dog was usually on a leash but even then, myself and colleagues who worked that round were always very apprehensive. We always said that if it ever managed to escape, it could kill us. As the dog jumped over the gate and headed towards me growling and snarling I honestly thought that was it for me."

According to NHS statistics, the number of people attending A&E after a dog bite attack has risen by more than 40% in the past 4 years – and is still rising. 200,000 people a year suffer dog attacks and the Communications Workers Union estimates that of those, 6,000 are postal workers bitten on the job. Depending upon the individual circumstances of each case, these workers may be eligible to claim compensation for dog bite injuries.

A Partner at Simpson Millar LLP in Leeds, represented the post woman and helps a growing number of clients who have suffered dog bite attacks to claim compensation. "At Simpson Millar we deal with hundreds of dog bite injury compensation claims ever year and recently some particularly horrific cases with very tragic outcomes. These cases could have been avoided if the owners had acted responsibly."

"Dogs do make loyal and affectionate pets but any dog, regardless of breed, can suddenly attack and dog bite compensation claims are becoming increasingly common. Owners must ensure that their dog is always suitably restrained, in public but also while on their property."

"The post woman’s injuries were so severe that she had to be transferred from her local hospital to receive specialist plastic surgery. Staff at the hospital had to cut off my wedding and engagement rings in order to operate. It was extremely upsetting and I still haven’t had them repaired. I simply can’t bring myself to look at them now they are damaged and tainted."

The dog in question was not put to sleep – something which the post woman finds of grave concern: "I can't bear to imagine what would have happened if it had been a mother and child that day."

After the dog bite attack, delivery to the owner’s house was suspended until a box had been put in place to which mail could be delivered from inside a vehicle. But the post woman said the owner should have been asked to collect the mail from the post office as long as the dog was alive.

She said: "Luckily my hand looks OK now but I’ll never be able to bend my finger properly and it is also difficult to grip with it."

She added: "Postal workers and other delivery staff who have suffered a dog bite injury whilst working should be aware that they might be entitled to claim compensation for being bitten by a dog. "

"Of course we are pleased with the results of this dog bite compensation claim but we must remember that this was due to the significance of the injury and the fact that unfortunately the post woman was not able to return to her former position. I’m sure if she had the choice, she would gladly return the money in exchange for the use of her finger."

Changes to the Animals Act 1971 are currently under consultation. According to Simpson Millar LLP, reforms are necessary: "A tightening of the rules governing animal ownership would be welcomed and highly appropriate given the number of dog bite injuries sustained each year and the ensuing compensation claims. "

"Hopefully a more accurate definition of the responsibilities that come with owning a potentially dangerous animal will send a strong message; that owners are responsible for the actions of their dogs and should take measures to ensure the safety of others."

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