Dog AttacksNo legislation can eradicate the problem completely

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A 2007 survey found that 31% of UK households owned at least one dog. Dogs are mostly friendly and well-trained. However, there are a growing number of reports of people attacked by dogs in recent years.

According to NHS statistics, the number of people who were treated for injuries caused by a dog has risen by over 40%. An attack by a dog can cause serious injuries, including:

  • Lacerations and scarring
  • Fractured or broken bones
  • Nerve damage
  • Infections
  • Psychological trauma e.g. phobia and post traumatic stress disorder

Dangerous Dog Act Legislation

In 1991 the Government introduced the Dangerous Dogs Act following a growing number of media reports about dog attacks. It requires owners of the following breeds of dogs to register their pets on the Index of Exempted Breeds: pit bull terriers, Japanese tosa, Dogo argentino and Fila braziliero. Owners of these dogs must also follow strict guidelines, ensuring they are kept on a lead, wear a muzzle when in public place, and getting the dog chipped, tattooed and insured. Failure to follow these rules can result in prosecution. If a dog of this type has caused you an injury then compensation may be awarded, even if the dog has shown no previous sign of aggression. This legislation not only applies to the above mentioned but also applies to any dog that is known to be 'dangerously out of control' in public places. A dog can be considered 'out of control' if there is reason to believe that they are highly capable of attacking somebody.

Claiming Dog Bite Compensation

If you are attacked by a dog then you should first report it to the police. This is not only to ensure that there is a police record of your incident, but to make the authorities aware of a potentially dangerous dog in order to protect the public against it attacking somebody else. The law surrounding dog attacks is complicated and it is easier to prove a dog bite claim if the dog is known to be dangerous and precautions were not taken to keep the public safe by its owner at the time of the incident. Following your attack you should try to record the dog owner's details and find out whether they have home or pet insurance that covers the animal. Most people are unlikely to have the financial means to pay compensation, so it would be an insurance company that your claim would be made against. If they do not have insurance it may still be possible to claim through the Criminals Injuries Compensation Authority.

You can download an example of a Statement of Claim against the owner of a dog that has attacked you at Precedent Statement of Claims.

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