Making an injury compensation claim following a dog bite or attack

Posted May 09, 2018.
If you can believe what you read in certain sections of the UK media, it would appear that Britain is in the grip of an ever more frequent series of attacks by dogs on people, some with devastating or even fatal consequences. So, as a self-proclaimed nation of dog-lovers’, what is the reality regarding dog attacks and bites in the UK and how can you go about claiming for compensation should this happen to you?

On the surface it would appear that specific breeds of dog breed – in particular those highlighted in 1991’s Dangerous Dogs Act – are responsible for the majority of attacks. The dog breeds specified in the act as banned breeds are the Pit Bull terrier, the Dogo Argentino, the Japanese Tosa and the Fila Brasiliero. However, whilst the Dangerous Dogs Act has had a positive impact on the numbers of such dogs, the breed most likely to bite a person in the UK based on 2015 statistics is the ever popular Jack Russell Terrier, with the loveable Labrador being responsible for the most bites in rural areas!

So, whilst it’s clear that whilst most dogs in the UK are well cared for and properly socialised with other dogs and people, any dog has the potential to bite and cause injuries and harm. If you are unfortunate to have been attacked or bitten by a dog, there is no reason why you shouldn’t make a claim against the dogs owner for compensation. In addition to being compensated, taking legal action can be a very effective way of getting the message across to certain dog owners that they must be far more careful and aware of their surroundings if their dog is prone to bite, helping to prevent other innocent individuals from being attacked.

To be able to make a successful claim, you will need to demonstrate that the owner was aware that their dog was dangerous and prone to attack, so any evidence of previous attacks will be very useful (this is something that Bakers would be able to help with). It is also very important that you:

1. Seek prompt medical treatment
2. Secure contact details for any witnesses to the attack
3. Take photographs of your injuries
4. Report the attack to the Police quickly (who may also be able to tell you if the dog has been reported before)
5. Contact Bakers for advice as soon as possible
6. Keep records of any lost earnings, travel and medical expenses or damage to clothing

Whilst many dog owners will have insurance to cover the costs of their dog biting someone (usually via pet insurance or through their house insurance), if they don’t – or if the attack was deliberate – then a claim may be possible through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority scheme (CICA scheme). Again, the experienced team at Bakers will be able to advise you and help you to start your claim.