A dog bite claim is treated as a personal injury claim and as such you have three years from the date of the incident to issue court proceedings in connection with your claim.
If the injured party is a minor (i.e. under the age of 18) at the time of the attack, then the three-year period begins on their 18th birthday.
If the injured party lacks the capacity to conduct proceedings as a result of mental incapacity, then there are no specified time limits in place. The 3-year time limit only applies when the person regains mental capacity. If a person lacks capacity, they would need someone else to bring the claim on their behalf. This person is known as a “Litigation Friend”.
The courts do have the discretion to extend the three-year time limit but only in exceptional circumstances. You always look to begin your claim as soon as possible as this will give you the best chance of a successful outcome and ensures that, for example, witness evidence is obtained while recollections are still fresh.
The three-year time limit runs from the date of the incident even if you don’t know the owner of the dog.
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