The owner of an animal must take reasonable steps to ensure the safety of members of the public who come into contact with that animal. If you have suffered injury, loss and damage as a result of an animal attack you may be entitled to purse a claim for compensation.
Types of Injury
Animal attacks can be very disturbing and cause significant injuries including:-
- Bites and scarring
- Cuts and abrasions
- Infection, including bone infections
- Soft-tissue and other muscular injuries
- Psychological trauma
Liability of Dog Owners
Under the Control of Dogs Act 1986, the owner of a dog is liable to pay compensation for any damage caused by the dog attacking and injuring a person. There is no need to show that the dog had a previous mischievous propensity or was prone to attacking people. The fact of the dog attack and evidence of injury, loss and damage is all that is usually required to pursue a claim. It is not necessary to establish the negligence of the dog owner. However, where a guard dog or police dog injures a person these claims may well be defended depending on the circumstances.
Homeowners insurance covers most dog bite injury claims. In the majority of cases it is the insurer rather than the dog owner that deals with the claim and pays compensation for the harm caused, including any consequential financial losses such as medical bills, and any loss of earnings. In the absence of home insurance, it may be necessary to pursue the dog owner personally. This may prove difficult if the dog owner has insufficient means to pay compensation and discharge the legal costs of any proceedings.
Animal and dog attack claims are often complex matters and expert legal advice should always be sought if you have been attacked by an animal.
If you wIish to discuss a potential claim or would like advice on any matter, please contact us for a consultation.