Could you be entitled to dog bite compensation?
It can sometimes be difficult to identify whether or not one may be entitled to dog bite compensation. It is important to remember that all dogs can be a potential hazard, no matter what their size or breed, and that attacks can occur in public or private places, such as the home.
Seeking medical advice for an attack is the most important immediate action to take, but be sure to take note of what medical problems you are treated for and, if possible, record the name and details of the dog owner. Taking these simple steps can help improve your claim for compensation.
Over 100 victims of dog bites in England seek hospital treatment each week, a recent survey has shown; a rise of over 66% in just a decade. Shockingly, many of these victims are unaware that they could be entitled to dog bite compensation to make up for the emotional, physical and financial damage inflicted by their attack. This article simplifies how to minimise your risk of a dog bite, what action to take after an attack, and explains how you could be entitled to dog bite compensation.
The Dangerous Dog Act of 1991 (amended in 1997) made it illegal for particular breeds of dogs to be owned without a special exemption from court. Such breeds on the list include the Pit Bull Terrier, Japanese Tosa, Dogo Argentino and Fila Braziliero, which are mainly large, working dogs, traditionally used as guardians or in herding. If caught owning these dogs illegally in the UK, however, owners face up to six months imprisonment and/or a fine of over £5000.
But these are not the only dogs which may be a potential risk to you or your family. Larger breeds which are often kept as family pets, such a Boxers, Rottweilers and even Labradors can also be extremely dangerous if provoked. Even smaller dogs with less physical strength can pose a risk to young children and adults alike; Dachshunds and Jack Russells are often considered more aggressive in nature than larger breeds. Ultimately, every dog should be considered with caution.
New legislation, called the Dog Control Bill, is due to be passed later in 2011 which will replace the Dangerous Dog Act of 1991, and could affect your right to dog bite compensation. The new laws will apply to all breeds of dog and aim to place more responsibility on the owners, so that they manage their dog safely in public and private places. Owners of offending dogs will face fines if their dog has “bitten, mauled or injured a person”.
It is natural to be wary of the risk from dogs when in a public place, such as the park or beach, especially when dogs are unrestrained. But this is not the only situation in which dog bites can occur. If your job requires you to enter another person’s house, such as those of postmen, technicians, plumbers etc., you are also at risk from dog bites. In fact, dogs can be especially aggressive when they feel you are an intruder in their territory, or if someone approaches their food or personal space. A recent study carried out by the BBC showed that in 2009, there were 5,091 dog attacks on postmen and women in the UK alone. Keith Davies was one such postman; he had to undergo six-hours of surgery to correct the ligaments in his arm following an attack from two Rottweilers. Keith received full dog bite compensation, covering the cost of his operation and physiotherapy aftercare, as well as a generous personal compensation.
If you have been a victim of a dog bite, and are looking to claim for dog bite compensation, there are some steps you can take to strengthen your claim. First of all, seek medical advice: even if the wound does not look too bad, you may need to have a tetanus injection or a course of antibiotics to protect from infection. You can do this by visiting the Accident & Emergency section of your local hospital or, in the case of severe attacks, dialing 999. It is important that you record what medical treatment you receive, as this can support your claim for dog bite compensation. Taking photographs of injuries is a useful way of generating permanent evidence of the wounds.
If possible, you should also try to get the name and personal details of the dog owner and of any witnesses of the accident who might help explain what has happened. It will assist your compensation claim if the owner to able to pay the compensation costs through pet insurance or household & contents insurance, so try to discover if the owner is covered by these. Finally, contacting the police or the local council will be useful to protect other members of the public from the vicious dog; you may find that you were not the first victim.
To discuss how you could claim dog bite compensation yourself, contact Macks Solicitors today. We are able to offer you accurate, simple and no-fuss advice about how you can claim compensation to cover physical, psychological and financial losses. Macks Solicitors operate on a no-win, no-fee basis, so there really is nothing to lose. Simply complete the thirty second claim-form or call directly 0800 980 9390 to assess how much money you could be entitled to.