Woman Trampled by Cows Wins Compensation
A woman left brain damaged after being trampled by cows whilst out walking her dog along a public footpath has won damages from the farmer.
The Claimant was walking her Jack Russell puppy across farmland. She had wandered a short distance from the footpath when a herd of 40 cows, including calves, trampled over her. The farmer found her lying unconscious in the field and took her back to his farmhouse, from where she was taken to hospital.
She had to have emergency surgery for a hairline skull fracture. She also suffered fractured ribs and many soft-tissue injuries. Afterwards, she could remember little of the incident and is now confined to a wheelchair. The extent of her injuries means she is no longer able to work.
A claim for damages was bought against the farmer. The case was heard at Blackpool County Court, where it was argued for the farmer that the claimant was aware that cows could be dangerous and had accepted the risk associated with her actions when she continued walking across the field in the knowledge that the cows were there. The judge, however, decided that the Claimant was unaware of the risk she was taking by cutting across the field.
The judge awarded the Claimant £250,000 as an interim payment plus £100,000 in costs. The full amount of the final settlement will be decided later but could be as much as £1 million. However, it is reported that the farmer intends to appeal the decision.
Whilst cows do not normally present a risk to the public, they can be very protective of their calves, particularly if they feel threatened in any way. The outcome in this case will have implications for both farmers and those exercising their right to use a public right of way.