Do I have know the owners details

“I don’t know who owns the dog or where it lives. Can I still make a claim?”

In the vast majority of cases, unfortunately, the answer is ‘no’. Unless there is an identifiable third-party there is no one against whom the claim can be brought.

An exception to this is if the attack was a result of the actions of a party other than the owner of the dog. For instance, it may be possible to bring a claim if your employer allows animals onto the premises but fails to ensure that there is adequate supervision of such. While the bite is as a result of the animal, the negligence has been caused by your employer. It may be that your employer sends you to work in an area where there is a high risk of animal attack but failed to provide you with appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) or to take other steps to safeguard your well-being.

As can be appreciated, such cases are few and far between, and in the vast majority of claims, we will need at the very least the address of the dog owner at the time of the attack.

If a dog was deliberately set upon you by persons unknown then you could make an application to the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (the “CICA”). The CICA is a government-funded organisation that makes a compensation payment to victims of violent crime. This includes injured parties who sustain an injury as a result of a dog attack in a situation whereby the dog is used as a weapon, for instance, if a dog is set upon you during an assault or where it is used to defend premises where criminal activity is taking place.

In such circumstances, you do need to know the owner of the dog but the matter must be reported to the police. It is best to report the matter within 72 hours to comply with the CICA requirements.

“I know that the owners don’t have any pet or household insurance. Can I still bring a claim?”

Bringing a claim for compensation rests on the basis that you have suffered loss as a result of the negligent actions of another party. This clearly involves a scenario where you are bitten by a dog.  Unfortunately, the fact that you may have a claim doesn’t automatically mean that you will receive compensation.

If there are no insurers to pay the compensation then the only option is to seek recovery directly from the owners of the dog. This can be more difficult. If it can be shown that the dog owner has sufficient assets, perhaps in the form of equity in their property then often we will look to pursue the claim. The failure to carry insurance should not be seen as a ‘get out of jail free’ card.

“Do I have to report the matter to the police to make a claim?”

No, there is no requirement to report the matter to the police and the failure to do so will not impact your claim; equally, reporting the matter to the police will not necessarily increase your chances of a successful claim although if there is a conviction it can be used as evidence in support of negligence.

This only applies to civil claims. If, as mentioned above, you are the victim of the use of a dog as a weapon then this incident needs to be reported to the police as soon as possible so as to allow you to make an application to the CICA.

If you have any questions as regards claiming compensation for injuries caused by a dog bite; get in touch with us today.

Am I likely to get rabies as a result of a dog bite?

This is very unlikely – click here for a full response

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