It is estimated that more than half of the households in UK own a dog, therefore it is becoming ever more likely that you will cross paths with a dog in the street or when visiting a friends house. So where do you stand when one of these domesticated animals bites and causes you to sustain an injury?
There are two important pieces of legislation that govern the ownership of dogs in our society. The Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 was implemented following a number of incidents involving dangerous, aggressive and uncontrolled dogs which resulted in serious injury, primarily to children. This Act prevents members of the public from owning certain breeds of dogs, without an order granted by the Court. However, the most commonly used piece of legislation when dealing with injuries caused by dogs, is section 2 of the Animals Act 1971 and for a claim to succeed, the three criteria laid down in that section need to be proved.
“Lead the way…”
The application of the Animals Act 1971 is a complex task as over time the Act has been interpreted and reinterpreted in the higher courts. This makes the dealing with a claim complex and instructing Solicitors like Harris Fowler, is a way of relieving that burden.
If you are unfortunate enough to have been bitten by a dog and you want to make a claim, as a starting point it is important to find out who the owner of the dog is and their address. Commonly, if the dog is on a lead, the owner is at the other end or if the dog is running loose in a park, the owner will be close by. As well as seeking medical attention as soon as possible, it is also advised to report the incident to the police as they will be able to log the incident and assist in locating the owner and possibly any other incidents involving the same dog.
Any witnesses to the attack are also extremely helpful especially if any are local residents and can comment on the known behaviours of the dog i.e. barking a lot or attacking the postman. Knowing or finding out the breed of the dog is also very important and a photograph will help considerably.
Dog bites and attacks can not only lead to serious physical injuries resulting in scarring but also psychological injury. These can all lead to time off work resulting in a loss in income and affect your family life considerably.
Therefore if you have been bitten or attacked by a dog or other animal within the last three years, you may be entitled to claim compensation. If it was a child that was injured, they have until their 21st birthday to bring a claim regardless of when it occurred.
Call our free phone number on 0800 213214 or complete the simple online enquiry form and we can discuss in detail with you the circumstances of the accident.