Being bitten by a dog is, quite often, a terrifying experience. However, the law makes it very clear that if you have been bitten by a dog, then you have the legal right to compensation from the owner of that dog. Dog owners and handlers have a moral and also legal responsibility to protect others from their dogs. So if you have been attacked, rest assured that the law is on your side under the circumstances.
Making a claim for a dog bite
In order to make a claim, you must have somebody to claim against. Usually, this will be a dog owner or dog handler. However, it may even be an organization in control of a dog, or the police (uncontrolled police dog bites are more common than you might think). If you know who the owner of the offending dog is, then this will make the claims process easier because more time can be put into building your case, rather than tracking down the owner.
If you do not know who the owner of the dog is, or even if you do, it is absolutely crucial that you notify the police so that they can investigate the attack. It may prove to be the case that you were attacked by a dangerous dog banned under the Dangerous Dogs Act. Banned dog breeds include the Argentinean Mastiff, the Brazilian Mastiff, the Japanese Tosa, and Pit Bull Terrier breeds, among others. If you believe that the dog that attacked you is a banned breed, then you must notify the police – because it is your legal duty to do so.
Compensation amounts for dog bites
The amount of dog bite compensation you could be entitled to is largely swayed by the extent of your injuries and how those injuries have and will affect your life. Generally speaking, the worse your injuries are then the more financial compensation you can claim.
It’s also important to point out that The Judicial Studies Board has set out guidelines for dog bite compensation. These guidelines are as follows:
- £5,430 to £16,250: For dog bite injuries that cause a number of noticeable laceration scars or a single disfiguring scar;
- £1,680 to £5,430: For dog bites that cause a number of superficial scars or some or several minor cosmetic scars.
These guidelines are, however, just guidelines. They do not take into account the level of pain and suffering the victim goes through, nor any complications in medical rehabilitation.
As a result, you could be owed more than the above. You can also claim back any out-of-pocket expenses related to your accident and lost income. This is called special damages.