Thousands of dog attacks happen each year due to out of control dogs, often resulting in horrific injuries. The effects of a dog attack can be devastating and can include ongoing psychological symptoms such as depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and fear of dogs, as well as physical injuries including lacerations, puncture wounds and scarring.
Dog owners are being held more accountable for their dogs’ actions and Personal Injury claims as a result of dog bites have risen considerably over the last five years.
The government is currently reviewing the criminal punishment levied to owners of dangerous dogs. The law will increase sentences imposed on those who breed dogs to be aggressive or used as weapons The Sentencing Council has drafted new guidance for courts in England and Wales after maximum sentences were increased last year. The maximum sentence for anyone whose dog kills a person will increase from two to 14 years showing the seriousness of the problem.
Not only will owners potentially criminal prosecution, victims may also be entitled to compensation. Claims involving dog attack injuries succeed if certain criteria are met. Most successful cases involve dogs with a history of aggression or known to the owner. If the owner fails to control a dog with an aggressive history in public then they can be held liable for an injury.
Some breeds of dog are considered to be more dangerous than others and The Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 requires owners of certain breeds to register their dogs and follow strict training guidelines. Failure to do so can result in prosecution. Any dog can attack, however, and whatever the breed of dog, and whatever the injury, the incident should be reported to the police immediately. It is useful to take full details of the owner and any witnesses and to photograph your injuries.
If a claim is pursued, then owners may be covered by their pet or house insurance policy. It is important that dog owners check that their insurance provides sufficient cover.
Alternatively, it may be possible to make a claim through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority.
If you have suffered an injury as a result of a dog attack within the last three years, you could be entitled to compensation, as the owner of the dog has a duty to the public to keep it under control.
If you would like clear advice on how to claim compensation for your injuries, please contact Rachel Davis on 01279 755777.