Even the most placid of dogs can bite and it is difficult to know what provokes them sometimes. Unfortunately a dog is more likely to attack someone who is afraid of them than they are a confident handler as the fearful person's reaction can inadvertently provoke them.
Usually a dog bite will cause a minor injury, being more frightening than actually painful or dangerous, but if you suffer a more serious attack you should consider taking action against the owner.
If you or perhaps your child has been bitten then your first consideration must be first aid. Clean the wound under running water, and if the skin has been broken encourage the wound to bleed a little by squeezing it. This will help wash away any potential infection. Unless the bite is minor you should get it checked by a doctor, avoiding infection will be their priority too.
There are as many as a quarter of a million reported dog bites annually in the UK, the vast majority of these are at the family home and involve children. The law currently holds the owner responsible for dog's behaviour in a public place, but does not act in the case of a dog's poor behaviour in the home. There are frequent calls for this to change to hold the owner responsible in all cases and recently action against owners has become more severe with offences carrying stiffer penalties.
How do I claim if I have been bitten by a dog?
Keep a record and receipts for any costs you incur as a result of the attack. Once you have had the appropriate medical treatment it's time to talk to a Personal Injury lawyer to understand whether you should claim compensation. At Edwards Hoyle our specialists will advise you whether to claim, and if we advise you to go ahead we will accept your case on a no win no fee basis.
What if the owner doesn't have insurance?
Most responsible dog owners have pet insurance that helps them cover their vet's bills, but also, just as importantly gives them third party insurance should their animal cause damage or injury to other persons or property.
In some instances where there is no specific pet insurance the pet may still be covered under a household policy.
If you are bitten by an insured animal then it will be the insurer who we will claim your damages from. If the animal is not insured then the claim becomes more difficult as any claim for damages will be against the owner who may not have the means to pay.
Will I have to pay fees for my claim after being bitten by a dog?
If we accept your case we will do so on a no win no fee basis. This means that provided your case is successful you will receive 100% of any damages awarded, and in the unlikely event that the claim is not successful you will not have any fees to pay.