On 22nd April 2016, Mr Hegarty was walking his friend’s dog in Manchester, near Ashton New Road. A police car pulled up near Mr Hegarty, and when the car opened, a police dog was let out to chase assailants who had fled their own vehicle. Unfortunately, the dog attacked Mr Hegarty instead, biting his left leg between his ankle and his shin.
The police moved the dog away from him, and Mr Hegarty was taken to North Manchester General Hospital where his wounds were dressed and cleaned. The bites healed over a period of several months, but Mr Hegarty has now been left with a number of residual scars to his lower leg and ankle, and suffers from an altered sensation at the site of the injury because of damage to his superficial nerves.
We wrote to Greater Manchester Police on 16th May 2016, setting out our case and alleging that they had failed to comply with the duty of care that they owed to Mr Hegarty under the Animals Act 1971. On 1st September 2016, we received an offer of £1,850 from the Defendant to settle Mr Hegarty’s claim. At this point, we were not in a position to advise him as to the value of his claim as he had not been seen by a specialist consultant. As the offer would have been in full and final settlement of his claim, Mr Hegarty provided instructions for us to reject the offer so that he could ensure that he was not under-settling. He appreciated that this claim represented his one and only chance to recover compensation for what had happened to him.
Greater Manchester Police admitted liability for Mr Hegarty’s accident on 7th October 2016. We then arranged for Mr Hegarty to see a medical expert, who recommended that he undergo physiotherapy to build up the strength in his left calf. After a period of immobility immediately following the accident, Mr Hegarty had suffered a loss of muscle bulk in his leg.
We released our evidence to the Defendant on 20th April 2017, and invited them to make offers in respect of Mr Hegarty’s claim. We initially received an offer of £6,000, and following negotiations between the Defendant and Mr Hegarty’s solicitor, Catherine Moore, this was increased to £7,000 on 25th May 2017. Mr Hegarty provided instructions for us to accept this offer on his behalf, as having been able to obtain and review evidence from a medical expert, we were able to advise him that it represented a fair and reasonable settlement figure for his claim.