CICA and dog bite claims. Frequently, I receive enquiries from victims of dog bite attacks whereby the owner of the dog cannot be traced or, if they can be traced, they do not have any appropriate insurance. In the absence of the owner or a lack of insurance, it is very difficult to pursue a personal injury claim.
Quite often such victims ask if they can make an application to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (“CICA”).
The CICA is a government-funded organisation that makes payment to the victims of crimes of violence. It is this last definition that prevents an award of compensation being made by the CICA to dog bite victims, except in very limited circumstances.
Applications to the CICA following a dog bite
The essential element is an intention by the dog owner/party with control of the dog, to cause you harm. In the absence of evidence of such, your application is likely to fail.
Whilst you may have sustained an injury because of the actions of the dog owner who has been charged with a criminal offence, it does not automatically mean that you were the victim of a crime of violence. By way of example, you may come home and find your house has been burgled and suffer an extreme shock reaction. You have suffered an injury – that is not in doubt – but it was not sustained as a result of a crime of violence and as such, no award will be made.
The CICA will only make payment in relation to the dog attack if it can be shown that the dog was used as a weapon in so much as it was deliberately set upon you, or a situation was orchestrated by the dog owner so that the attack upon you was inevitable. It is only within these narrow boundaries that a claim will be recognised and an award made.
Qualifying for an award
To qualify for an award, you will need to show, in addition to sustaining an injury that:
- the incident happened in the United Kingdom
- it happened within the past two years (or within two years of your 18th birthday)
- the matter was reported to the police in a prompt manner (within a maximum of 72 hours)
- you have co-operated fully with the police in their investigations.
Get the legal help you need
If you have been bitten by a dog and have any questions in relation to making a claim either against the owner or, in appropriate circumstances, an application to the CICA, then get in touch today.
Our specialist teams can advise you on the issues relevant to your claim.
While based in Leeds, we offer a nationwide service.
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