Who can you claim against?
Bitten by a dog? If you have been attacked by a dog, you may make a claim against the owner of the dog. Under section 7 of Companion Animals Act 1998, persons are owner of an animal if they are:
- The person who owns the animal as a personal property;
- The person who has control over the animal; and
- The registered owner of the animal.
Do you have a claim?
Under section 25 of the Companion Animals Act 1998, a dog owner will be held responsible to compensate you for damages if: –
- You have been physically injured as a result of the dog’s attack; and
- As a result of the dog’s attack, your personal property such as your clothing has been damaged.16
Determining whether the dog owner is held responsible will also largely depend on the circumstances of your case. For example, your case is less likely to be successful if it was shown that the dog attacked you because you had provoked the dog or that you were on the premises of the dog and its owner at the time of the attack.
If the owner or occupier has not taken reasonable steps to protect your safety and you suffer an injury as a consequence, then you are eligible to make a public liability claim.
Hence in order to make a public liability claim, you will need to prove two things:
- Your accident could have been avoided if the owner or occupier took reasonable steps to prevent it; and
- You suffered losses as a result of your injury.
What can you claim for?
If you are successful in showing the dog owner was responsible for your case, you may be entitled to receive compensation in relation to non-economic loss (pain and suffering); past and future economic loss; domestic assistance required; loss of enjoyment of life; and medical treatment. In addition, you may also recover costs for the damage to your personal property during the dog’s attack, including your personal clothing.
The amount of compensation varies in each case and there is no limit to determining how much compensation you can receive
When should you make a claim?
It is vital that you seek legal advice immediately following the dog bite incident. This ensures that the events are still fresh in your mind as we require a detailed and thorough version of the incident in question. We offer a free consultation to help you determine whether you may be successful in seeking compensation. Generally, it will help us if you have records of: –
- Photographs of your injuries and the dog who attacked you;
- Any police reports;
- Description of event and any witness statements/reports;
- Medical records following your incident; and
- Any reports indicating a drop in your earnings.
If you have been bitten by a dog and you wish to seek legal advice, please reach out to us at 02 8764 1776.