Settlement For Theatre Worker Bitten By Rottweiler In 'Terrifying' Attack

Specialist Injury Lawyers Secure Settlement After Woman Attacked In London Street


A London theatre worker who was attacked by a large dog as she walked home from work has spoken of the ‘terrifying’ ordeal after she received a four-figure settlement.

Miriam Spencer, from Crystal Palace, was attacked by a Rottweiler dog that was not wearing a muzzle as she walked home from the train station through Gipsy Hill at around 11pm on 29 June 2012.

The 35-year-old instructed specialist personal injury lawyers at Irwin Mitchell to investigate the incident and secure funds to help with her recovery as she has been left with permanent scarring from the bite marks. 

The law firm has now secured Miss Spencer an undisclosed settlement from the dog owner’s insurers to cover her pain and suffering and the on-going psychological impact of the attack, for which she has attended counselling sessions.

During the attack, which took place while Miss Spencer was speaking to her father on the phone, she was bitten on the underneath of her upper left arm as she moved her hands to protect her face from the Rottweiler. Miriam said the attack came out of the blue and she did not make any sudden movements or get too close to the dog as she walked past.

She was taken to the accident and emergency department at May Day Hospital and received treatment on three bite wounds on her arm.

Due to the severity of the injury she needed surgery at St George’s Hospital the following day where surgeons stitched the wounds under general anaesthetic but it was not until August that she was able to return to work at The Old Vic theatre.

She says she is now “absolutely terrified of dogs” and has been left with scarring and three clear puncture marks under her left arm. Irwin Mitchell have since arranged for her to go through a series of counselling sessions to help her overcome the frightening attack and lawyers say it highlights the dangers that some animals can pose.

Louise Scott, an expert personal injury lawyer at Irwin Mitchell’s Birmingham office, representing Miriam, said: 
Expert Opinion
This attack, which came completely out of the blue, has naturally had a massive impact on Miriam and it was a terrifying experience for her to go through.

“The incident has left her with an acute fear of dogs, which has a considerable impact on her life as she lives in an area that is popular with dog walkers. Miriam is the latest in a long line of people to have their lives turned upside down as a result of the physical and psychological trauma of such an attack and it highlights the dangers that some dogs can pose.

“Thankfully in this case the dog owner had suitable insurance to cover Miss Spencer’s injuries and she has been able to access the counselling she now needs to help her overcome the attack. Sadly many victims of dog attacks are faced with a more difficult legal challenge. We have repeatedly called for compulsory insurance and a register of dog owners so that all victims of dog bites are able to secure the support they need.”
Louise Scott, Solicitor

Miss Spencer said: “I was absolutely terrified when I was attacked by such a large dog as I walked home as there was no warning and it just happened so fast. My first reaction was to try to protect my face, but I still suffered serious injuries from the bites under my arm.

“The attack has left me with permanent scarring and I now have a fear of dogs, which makes getting around in the areas I live and work extremely hard, as the areas are very popular with dog walkers. I just can’t help thinking that another attack could happen at any time.

“I’m extremely relieved that I can start to put the attack behind me thanks to the settlement and hopefully the counselling will help. I hope that my case will act as a reminder to dog owners of the need to keep control of their pets and to use a muzzle when walking in public places.”

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