Compensation settlement for walker severely injured in cow attack

As someone who enjoys a walk in the countryside myself I have on occasion been confronted by a herd of cows when walking along a public footpath which goes through a farmer’s field. It can be quite frightening and when the cows come towards you in a group they can be very intimidating, especially when you don’t know whether they are just being friendly and curious, or if they will be aggressive.

I have now acted for a number of clients who have been the victim of a frightening attack by cows, and suffered nasty injuries as a result.

Mrs Y’s claim settled recently.

Attacked by cow whilst walking

She was walking her dog along a public footpath across farmer’s fields local to where she lived. When she entered the field she could not see that on this particular day, ahead of her was a herd of cows which were spread across both sides of the footpath, mostly lying down, and she had to walk through the herd to pass by. As she walked, she remembers being aware of movement behind her. Her dog, a young labradoodle, was on the lead. Frightened, she realised that she should not run and that she should let her dog off the lead. She walked a few steps further and then felt herself thrown and tossed in the air by one of the cows behind her. On the ground and unable to move, she heard a tremendous commotion coming from the herd of cows and she really did fear for her life.

Thankfully she was then found by the farmer and an ambulance was called for her. A fellow walker found her dog, which had run off, and they looked after her until she could be brought home.

A farmer's fields with bales of straw in

Farmers must warn walkers of danger of cows

When Mrs Y came to me for help I explained to her that the farmer does have a duty of care to walkers legitimately using a public footpath across their land. What the farmer should have done is to warn the users of the footpath that the cows were there. It is then for the public to make their own informed decision whether to still use the footpath. If he had simply put up a warning sign then he would most likely not have been liable for Mrs Y’s claim for damages.

Serious injuries suffered in cow attack

Mrs Y suffered multiple injuries as result of what happened, and she will never fully recover.  Physically, she suffered rib fractures, a collapsed lung and a fracture to her spine. Thankfully her spinal cord was undamaged and after wearing a brace for several weeks, her fracture healed. Psychologically, she suffered from PTSD and despite counselling still lives with a fear of cows which mean that her love of walking her dog in the local countryside will always be tarnished with that fear.

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