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Dogs: A man's best friend?

Britain are a nation of dog lover’s and rightly so. Figures show that almost 25% of the UK population own a dog. There are so many benefits to owning a dog, they can help boost your mood, keep you active and be more sociable. The majority of the time, humans and dogs live in perfect harmony with one another, however, occasionally, there can be situations where a dog can lose control and end up injuring someone.

You will no doubt have read in the news last month about the case where a Staffordshire bull terrier ran wild at a local park and ended up injuring fourteen children.

Is anyone to blame for this and can those children claim compensation?

Yes they can.

In order to make a successful claim for personal injury compensation, you must be able to provide evidence that the dog’s owner knew, or ought to have known, that the dog was dangerous and likely to attack. If, for example, you are able to find proof that the dog has previously attacked someone or has shown aggressive tendencies in the past then it will strengthen your claim.

Most dog owners will have either pet insurance or home insurance to pay compensation. If so, the negligent owner’s insurers will pay the damages. If you were attacked in a public space for example you could claim criminal injury compensation from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority providing you satisfy certain conditions.

UK law for compensation for personal injury arising from a dog attack is governed under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 or the Dogs Act 1871.

It is also possible to claim under the Occupiers Liability Act 1957/1984.

I am dealing with a couple of dog bite claims at the moment. One is for a little girl who was bitten outside her church when she stroked a dog, and the other is for a delivery driver who was bitten whilst delivering goods to a house. In both cases, liability has been admitted.

If you have been injured by a dog recently then you may be able to make a claim for compensation. If possible obtain the following information:-

  • The name and address and telephone number of the dog owner.
  • The name of the Pet and/or Home Insurance
  • Police reference number if the incident has been reported to the police