Can I claim for a dog bite?

Can I claim for a dog bite? If you have been bitten by a dog bite then you are entitled to seek compensation for your injuries as well as any financial losses or additional costs you may have incurred.

To succeed in your claim there are a number of key elements to consider.

How serious is the injury?

You can bring a claim for any level of injury but it is unlikely that a solicitor will be prepared to act for you if your injury is worth less than £1500. This is known as the ‘small claims limit’ and for a solicitor to be able to claim any legal fees from the third party/dog owner’s insurers the injury has to be worth in excess of £1500. This can include mental trauma but in the main, your solicitor will want evidence that you have a sufficient physical injury to justify the claim.

Do you know who owns the dog?

If you don’t know who owns the dog and there is no real way of finding out then I am afraid there is not a lot that can be done. There needs a third party against whom the claim can be made.

If the matter has been reported to the police or the local dog warden then they may be able to assist. If the police can trace the owner they may be reluctant to provide you with the details however your solicitor will be able to obtain a report in relation to the incident. This will include the other side’s details if known.

If the dog was set upon you deliberately or the incident occurred in the commission of a crime then you may be entitled to make an application to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority even if the dog’s owner is not known.

Is the dog owner insured?

Pet insurance is not compulsory so even if you have a sufficiently serious injury and we know who owns the dog if there is no insurance it is unlikely that a claim can be made.

The insurance may be third-party liability cover as part of the overall pet policy or, in some instances, the dog owner’s home insurance policy may provide appropriate cover.

In the absence of insurance, it may be able to still bring the claim if the dog owner is known to have access to ready funds to cover both your compensation and our fees.  This is a rare event and evidence of assets will be required before we proceed with such a claim on a no win-no fee basis.

As neither pet nor house insurance is compulsory there is no central register for such and so a claim may be taken on but not progressed once it becomes obvious there is no insurance cover and no chance of recovery from the dog owner’s pocket.

Bringing your claim

If we have established that the injury is sufficiently serious and we have the details of the third party we can start to deal with your claim.

Once we have dealt with the initial paperwork we will draft the letter of claim to the third party setting out the allegations of negligence i.e., why we are holding them at fault for your injuries.

The allegations will be based upon a breach of the Animals Act and negligence in allowing the incident to happen.

What you can claim

  • You can claim for your injury; this can include the physical pain and suffering caused by the bite and any ongoing discomfort and limitation.
  • You can claim for any mental trauma and upset caused by the attack.
  • You can claim for all and any financial losses resulting from the incident. This can include:
    • lost income for any periods of absence from work due to the injury, recovery, and treatment requirements,
    • treatment costs if paid for on a private basis
    • additional expenses such as travel, parking, etc
    • gratuitous care- help from family and friends with tasks you cannot do yourself due to your injury e.g. shopping, cleaning, etc. You can claim on an hourly rate even if you have not paid your helpers.
    • In more extreme cases you can seek to recover the cost of cover-up creams/remedial surgery (plastic/cosmetic)

How we can help.

Subject to a sufficient level of injury and you/the police having the owner’s details then we can deal with your claim on a no win-no fee basis. This means that if the claim is not successful due to a lack of evidence or there being no insurance in place then you do not pay for the work we have done in support of your claim.

If the claim is successful then we will retain an agreed percentage of your compensation in relation to our legal fees. This deduction will be agreed upon at the outset.

To see if we can help you to claim compensation for your dog bite get in touch with us today:


Can I claim for a dog bite?