Claiming for a Dog Bite

Claiming for a Dog Bite.A conversation I have on a regular basis when dealing with enquiries from people who have been bitten by a dog often goes along the following lines:

Me: ‘Do you have the details of the dog owner or the party who had control of the dog at the time of the incident?’

Caller: ‘No, I don’t know who owns the dog; I just want to claim compensation’.

Me: I’m sorry but in the absence of the details of the responsible owner you are not able to make a claim’.

Caller: ‘But I’ve been bitten …’

I’m always sympathetic towards anyone who has been bitten by an untraced dog. They can receive an injury that can be both physically and mentally debilitating but without any opportunity to claim compensation to offset such.

Alternative causes of action when claiming for a dog bite

If you have been bitten by a dog for whom there is no known owner there are steps, you can take which may assist.

Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA)

If the dog was deliberately set upon you and used as a weapon then, if you have reported the matter to the police, you may be able to obtain an award from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (the “CICA”).

The CICA is a government-funded body that makes payments to the victims of violent crime. The keywords here are violent crime. If somebody’s dog is just running feral and bites you, then while they may have committed a criminal offence in relation to the handling of their animal, they have not committed a crime of violence and therefore you are not entitled to an award of compensation from the CICA.

Social media

If you can obtain a photograph of the dog in question it may be worthwhile placing such on local social media pages and asking if anyone who has information on the animal to DM you. In such a case be as specific as possible, make no threats, nor indicate that you are planning a personal injury claim. Remember that social media is publication for the purposes of libel, and you don’t want to only find out the details of the dog owner when you receive a letter from their solicitors claiming damages for the comments you have made.

Report to the police

Regardless of whether you can obtain a photograph or not, you should report the matter to the police. If the police feel that the extent of the injury is severe enough to warrant further investigation, they can make enquiries with regards to any local CCTV that may be of assistance in determining the owner. You should also report the matter to the local dog warden who may be able to assist in tracing the animal if the animal has previously bitten or caused issues.

How we can help when claiming for a dog bite

Unfortunately, dog insurance is not compulsory so even if you are able to locate the home address of the animal, there is no guarantee that pet insurance will be in place. However, a household insurance policy may cover for third-party liability claims such as this. It does not matter that the bite did not occur on the insured property.

If you have been bitten by a dog, and would like to discuss the possibility of claiming compensation for your injuries then please get in touch with us today.


Claiming for a Dog Bite