Most of the claims for animal attacks we deal with at UnionLine involve dogs. While some attacks can be serious, dog bites are rarely fatal.
Being attacked by a dog can cause infections and psychological trauma, as well as the injuries sustained through the bites. Most bites will require medical attention.
More often than not, people will be bitten by their own pet, but there are incidents involving a stranger’s dog – the most recognised of these is the postman being bitten by a dog while delivering letters.
Generally speaking, the dog’s owner or person in charge of the dog will be liable for the behaviour of their pet and it may be their responsibility to pay you compensation.
Pet owners may have insurance cover for their dog, either through their home insurance or dedicated pet insurance. If a dog owner does not have cover for their pet, it may be possible to make your claim for compensation through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority.
The owner may be found guilty of failing to safeguard members of the public or failing to control the animal, especially if there is a history of the dog being aggressive.
The Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 was set up in response to a number of dog attacks being reported in the UK press.
Within this act, certain breeds of dogs have to comply with certain rules. Pit Bull Terriers, Japanese Tosa, Dogo Argentino and Fila Braziliero should be registered on the Index of Exempted Breeds, microchipped, tattooed and insured. They should also be kept muzzled. If the owner does not comply with these regulations, they would be committing a criminal offence.
If a dog attacks, the owner may be ordered to have the dog neutered or destroyed. They may also have to pay a fine of up to £5,000 and could be disqualified from keeping dogs.
It is illegal for guard dogs to be kept on a premises without a handler being present at all times, unless the dog is secured and not free to roam the premises. There must also be a sign displayed to warn of the guard dog.
Making a claim for a dog bite
If you have been injured by a dog in the last three years, you may be able to make a claim.
Animal bite claims can sometimes be complex, so it is important you and your solicitor work together to have the best chances of winning compensation. You should provide UnionLine with as much information as possible about your claim.