In this article, Libby describes how she made a claim after she was seriously injured by cows, and explains how you can too.
Help! I’ve been injured by cattle – what do I do?
Firstly, I’m sorry if you or someone you know has been hurt in a cattle attack. I do hope you are able to get through this terrible ordeal.
It comes as a massive shock to be attacked by cows, when we are encouraged to walk in the country to keep a healthy mind and body, and there are laws to prohibit dangerous livestock being placed near footpaths.
I’ve written about our experiences after my attack, including our successful legal claim, in the hope it is of use to you.
I am only here today because my husband carried me unconscious out of the cattle field, after we were attacked by cows, and summoned the air ambulance to get me to life-saving hospital care.
10 days later I was discharged from hospital, but recovery would take a long time. I could not think about documenting the attack or taking photographs or notifying authorities. Luckily my husband spent some time doing just that.
We were out of pocket from the outset.
The accident happened away from home and our family came to visit me in hospital (involving train tickets, hire car, hotel rooms, and parking at the hospital.) When we got home neither of us was fit for anything. My husband’s back was badly injured by the cattle, and we couldn’t clean our house or look after the garden. Our children came up on some weekends to help us with shopping and cooking.
There were ongoing dental, osteopath, and counsellor expenses.
I had a friend who knew someone else who had also been attacked by cows. I contacted the woman who had been attacked, and she came to visit us. She told us the name of the solicitor she had used after her attack, and suggested we use him. Prior to this we had contacted an accident specialist legal company who seemed very good, but perhaps a bit pushy for business; they were stressing how quickly they could get the claim dealt with.
Talking to the solicitor
The solicitor we saw was very thorough, taking a full history, asking for photographs of me before and just after the attack, details of the attack etc. He said he felt I had a very good chance of a successful claim.
After he listened to my account, he told me he would send me for assessment by orthopaedic, dental and psychological specialists (a good solicitor will try to assess all injuries and decide who best to send you to). He said this may take time, but it is important to ensure all injuries are checked and considered during a claim.
The solicitor also listened to my husband’s account, and felt he also had a valid claim as his back pain was directly attributable to the attack. Up to then we had not considered my husband could claim anything. Our solicitor said he would take us on a no-win no-fee basis, and he advised us to pay for insurance to cover costs just in case we should lose.
The progress of the claim
We took out the insurance, and I sent my solicitor regular emails of progress with injuries and specialist visits. He sent updates of his progress on the case.
Luckily the farmer had insurance, and the insurance company admitted liability straight away. Our solicitor asked them to pay an immediate £2000 on account, after admitting liability, to cover our initial expenses.
Both settlements took approximately two and a half years. The final settlement covered all our expenses and paid out an amount for our injuries. But suing will never make you rich folks, and I would far rather we NEVER were attacked.
After the settlement, we were able to donate some money to an air ambulance charity to help them continue to save people. That made us feel better.
MY ADVICE FOR YOU AFTER A CATTLE ATTACK
Now, you’re probably thinking: “So that’s your story. But what do I do then?”
Your priority is to get your injuries treated. To start with, you might be in a state of shock and not able to think clearly, but here is a list of things you need to consider doing.
- Document as much as you can about your injuries. Take photographs and make notes on where the attack happened, who you were with, and were there any witnesses.
- Report your attack (to the HSE, killer cows reporting form, the police, the local highways authority)
- Note any extra costs that you paid out as a result of your attack, (train tickets, distance driven, physiotherapist, dentist, cleaner, loss of earnings, etc.)
- Keep all receipts, just in case you decide to make a claim.
Finding a solicitor
If you decide you want to claim for your injury, this will be a personal injury claim and you will need to find an experienced solicitor.
The Law Society has a useful PDF download that you may find helpful: Your guide to making a personal injury claim.
Once you have explained the details of your injury then a solicitor can tell you –
- How likely your case is to succeed
- How much you might be able to claim
- The process the claim must go through
- How long this is likely to take
- How the solicitor will keep you informed of progress
Questions to ask about money
Costs may be of concern to you. Ask your solicitor –
- How much is a case like this likely to cost, and how are the costs worked out?
- Can there be a ‘no-win, no-fee’ arrangement, or will the solicitor charge you by the hour?
- How will the fees be paid if you lose?
- Will you need insurance cover to protect you against the possibility of paying the defendant’s costs?
- What other options are there for funding your case?
- When you might have to pay costs?
Thank you to Libby for this extremely useful advice, based on her own experiences. You can read a fuller account of the attack here: Libby’s Tale