Dog Bite Claims In The United Kingdom
Although dogs are frequently referred to as “man’s best friend”, they can have a more sinister side to them. Some breeds of dog are naturally more vicious than others, whilst any breed of dog can become aggressive if they have been treated incorrectly by their owners. Even previously placid dogs can become aggressive as they grow older and their age-related impairments make them more sensitive to certain stimuli.
Every year, over 4000 people are bitten by a dangerous dog in the UK, and some bite cases even result in a fatality. If you, a friend, a family member or even your pet is unfortunate enough to have been bitten by a dangerous dog then you could be entitled to make a claim for compensation.
Are you able to make a claim?
The law in the United Kingdom says that anyone who is injured due to negligence, recklessness or aggression on the part of another will have the right to seek compensation for the negative consequences which they suffer following the incident. If you have been injured by a dog within the last three years, or if you were under 18 at the time of the incident and are still under the age of 21, then you may be eligible to make a dog bite claim.
It may also be possible to make dog bite claims on behalf of any loved ones who were fatally injured by a dog. You may also be able to claim for any of your pets or items of personal property which were also damaged by a dangerous dog.
Are dog bite claims usually successful?
The law on dog bites in the United Kingdom can be very complicated. It always the responsibility of a dog owner to keep their animal under control, however there are certain circumstances in which the animal may become aggressive beyond the owner’s control.
Dog bite claims are usually only successful in cases where it can be proven that the dog owner was aware of the dog’s aggression before the incident occurred and where is can be shown that the owner had not taken sufficient measures to prevent the dog from causing harm.
There are certain breeds of dog which have been declared harmful under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991, and these breeds of dog must be made to wear a muzzle when they are out in public. If you are bitten by one of these banned dogs when you are in a public space, or if the dog is in a private place where it does not have permission to be (e.g. your garden), then it is highly likely that your dog bite claims for compensation will be successful.
This list includes Pit Bull Terriers, Fila Braziliero, Dogo Argentino and Japanese Tosa. There are other requirements surrounding these types of dogs, including the requirement that they are kept in secure facilities which they will not escape from.
How to prepare for dog bite claims
The first thing that you should do if you are bitten by a dog is to seek medical attention. If it is possible, you should also get the name of the dog owner and their address. Contact the police as well as getting medical attention, and obtain a crime reference number from the officer who dealt with your case. Take clear photos of any injuries or scars which you sustain from the incident.
If you are considering making a dog bite claim, you should also keep records of any loss of earnings or extra expenditure which you associate with the dog bite. Discuss your case with a competent dog bite claims lawyer, who will be able to advise you on how to proceed with your claim.