The law is very clear with regards to dog ownership. All owners are responsible for their dogs and are liable if their pet attacks or bites another person. Unfortunately, not all pet owners are aware of their legal responsibilities and even when they are, some choose to disregard it. Dogs that are not properly trained or are allowed to roam outside unmonitored and unleashed are at higher risk of attacking unsuspecting passersby.
If you are a victim of a dog bite, you should know that you may be entitled to claim compensation from the dog’s owner for your mental and physical injuries.
If You Have Been Bitten By A Dog What Should You Do?
At the time of the attack and immediately afterward, there is likely to be a lot of confusion as being attacked by a dog can be a vicious and frightening experience for anybody.
After the dog has backed off or has been contained, most people just want to get away from the scene as quickly as possible and seek medical treatment for their wounds. While this is understandable, it is most important that you try and stay calm and do a few things before leaving the scene to ensure that your dog bite claim will be successful.
Here are a few things you should do to help support your claim for compensation:
- Identify the dog’s owner and get their name, phone number and address. In most cases if the bite happens abroad especially you should find out if the dog is up to date on its vaccinations. If not, you need to get an anti-rabies shot immediately.
- Report the incident to the nearest police station. If there have been earlier reports against the same dog, it will help prove a pattern and will strengthen your case.
- Get the contact details of witnesses to the attack. If any of the witnesses are regulars in the area, ask if they know of any earlier attack by the same dog.
- Go to the nearest medical centre to get your wounds cleaned and treated.
- Get photographs of your injuries and later get photographs of your scars as well.
- Contact a personal injury solicitor to file a claim for compensation for the mental and physical trauma that you have suffered.
Remember to keep all receipts and records, including the police report, medical bills and all travel tickets to and from the hospital if applicable.
What You Can Claim For In A Dog Bite Claim
If you are bitten by a dog, your compensation claim can include the total cost of treatment, cost of drugs such as painkillers, transport costs to the hospital or medical practitioner, damage to clothing and other property such as a laptop or mobile phone and loss of income if your injury prevents you from going back to work for any length of time. These are the tangible expenses that you can claim for.
In addition to the tangible claims, you may also be entitled to claim for the mental and emotional anguish during and after the attack.
Is A Personal Injury Solicitor Needed?
In dog bite cases, finding out exactly what happened and who is at fault can be very complex. If an injury claim for compensation is filed, you should expect the dog’s owner to challenge the claim. This can result in a long drawn out court case in which you will have to possibly spend much time and money to pursue the compensation due to you. Moreover, you will go through all of this without any guarantee that you will be successful.
Personal injury solicitors who specialise in dog bite claims are well versed with the mechanisms of the law. They know what to expect from the defence team and how to react. They also know what aspects of the case to highlight to get you the highest compensation possible for your dog bite injury.
Most importantly, personal injury solicitors will represent you on the basis of a Conditional Fee Agreement. According to the terms of this agreement the solicitor will submit and fight your case on your behalf without taking any upfront fee. You only pay if your case is successful and after the compensation has been deposited into your account. This fee is usually a nominal percentage of the total payout.
When you choose to file your dog bite claim through a personal injury solicitor, you increase your chances of winning the highest possible compensation for your physical injuries and mental trauma. This is without any risk to you at all.