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Dog Attack & Bite Claim

Every year, many thousands of people are treated for dog bites and dog attacks in the UK alone and we have all seen the tragic stories on the news about babies and children being killed or seriously mauled by a pet dog. Dogs may be "man's best friend", but they can also be dangerous and cause serious and life changing injuries.

Some people are actually attacked by dogs when they are carrying out their job. People at risk include those who deliver post or parcels, carers, cleaners and home helps, builders and maintenance workers, and also those who check gas, electricity and water meters.

If you, or a member of your family, have been injured in a dog attack or by a dog bite, whether at work or at leisure, you may be able to claim personal injury compensation from the dog's owner. Not only will this help you with any medical costs, loss of earnings etc. but reporting the incident and taking them to court may also prevent an attack happening to somebody else.

Claiming Compensation for a Dog Attack or Dog Bite

It will obviously be easier to win your case for compensation if the dog in question has a history of aggression and the owner has not taken appropriate precautions, like keeping it muzzled and on a lead, to stop it happening again, or if it is classed as a "Dangerous Dog".

The Dangerous Dogs Act of 1991 was brought in after a dramatic rise in serious dog attacks by certain types of dog. The Act seeks to protect the public from dog types known for their aggressive and unpredictable traits, types of dog like:-

  • Pit Bull Terrier
  • Japanese Tosa
  • Dogo Argentino
  • Fila Brasileiro

Ownership of these types of dogs is prohibited, unless they are on the Index of Exempt Dogs, and DEFRA (The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) explains that it does not classify dangerous dogs by their breed, but by their type. Owners of dogs that match the physical characteristics of these four types of dogs can and will be prosecuted.

The Dangerous Dog Act also makes it a criminal offence to allow any dog, no matter what type or breed, to be "dangerously out of control" in either a place where it is not allowed or in a public place. If it causes a person to fear or believe that it will attack and injure them, then it can be classed as out of control. This means that if you are attacked by a dog in a public place or a place where it shouldn't be, the owner will be prosecuted by the police and you will have a very good chance of claiming personal injury compensation for your injuries.

If you are bitten or injured by a dog, you must report it to the police. By doing so, you are making them aware that there is a potentially dangerous dog in the community and you will also be helping your potential claim for compensation. You should also make a note of the dog owner's details - their name, address and whether they had any type of pet insurance or home insurance that could relate to the dog in question. When you seek the services of a personal injury solicitor, you should give them the dog owner's details, details about the dog that attacked you and also details of the police report that you filed.

Most personal injury solicitors will be able to work on a no win no fee (conditional agreement) basis which means that there is no risk to you if the case is lost. If you win your case, your solicitors fees qill be taken out of your compensation. This is a recent change due to new legislation introduced in April 2013. You will still receive a minimum of 75% of your compensation though, and the levels of compensation have been increased by around 10% to make up for some of the shortfall of this new system. One man won £3,500 in compensation after he was was seriously injured by a dog and required surgery on his arm. His injuries left him with scarring and with reduced muscle strength in his arm, which really affected his life. It was alleged that the dog in question was known to be aggressive, yet the owner had not used a muzzle or kept it on a lead. If this type of accident has happened to you, you really should seek legal advice.

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