Whether you are an animal lover or not, there is nothing acceptable about being bitten by someone else’s dog. When this happens, emotions tend to flare – and both the dog owner and the injured party may have some very significant claims as to the cause of the injury.
So if you have been bitten by a dog and wish to make a dog bite personal injury claim, speak to the personal injury lawyers at Owen Hodge or read on to learn more about your rights.
What constitutes a valid claim for dog bite compensation (NSW)?
Many people are unfamiliar with what types of dog bite injuries rise to the level of a dog bite personal injury claim. Most people believe that the dog must bite in a manner that causes the skin to break and/or bleeding to occur. But this is not always the case. An actionable dog bite claim can be made for the following animal related injuries.
What type of injury is a dog bite?
- Puncture wounds: those that cause the skin to break
- Bruising: which can come from being knocked over or rammed into by a charging dog
- Scaring: the result of a wound that either needs stitches or heals poorly
- Permanent damage to tissue and/or nerves: the result of a particularly deep puncture that reached muscle or nerve pathways
- Torn or damaged clothing and/or personal items
- Trauma: either emotional or physical as a result of the incident itself
Can you sue for a minor dog bite?
Every dog bite case is different, and whether or not it is worthwhile to lodge a dog bite compensation claim depends on a number of factors. In saying this, while it can be tempting to minimise a dog bite, it’s important to always get medical attention and speak to a personal injury lawyer to understand your rights.
Determining fault in a dog bite personal injury claim
The actions of the injured party
Is “who is at fault?” a question I need to be aware of when claiming for compensation? The answer is yes, you do need to concern yourself as to the extent your actions could have contributed to the dog bite injury happening. For example:
- If you approached the dog without warning to either the dog or the owner
- If you intentionally aggravated the dog by teasing the animal
- If you provoked the dog beyond the owner’s control
- If you intentionally physically harmed the dog
- If you entered the private property of the dog owner without an invitation
Therefore, if you are out in public and you see a dog that you want to approach, it is always best to stay at least the length of the leash apart from the dog and request permission from the owner to approach the animal.
The actions of the dog’s owner
The owner of the dog is liable for damages if:
- The owner lost control of the dog
- The dog was off leash in a public place that required leashing
- If the dog was roaming unattended by its owner
- If the owner had bred the dog to be harmful to others
If you have any questions about dog attack compensation in Australia, don’t hesitate to reach out to our public liability lawyers.
What to do if you’ve been bitten by a dog
If you have been attacked or bitten by a dog, you need to report it to the police immediately. Under the Companion Animals Act 1998, police officers have a wide range of powers to deal with dog bite incidents.
What can I claim after a dog bite injury?
As with most personal injury claims, the following damages can be made in a dog bite personal injury claim:
- Medical expenses, including but not limited to:
- An emergency medicine visit
- A primary care physician visit
- Surgical procedures
- First aid costs
- Loss of earnings due to lost time from work
- The replacement cost for damaged items of clothing or other personal items, such as a broken watch or cell phone
- Pain and suffering
- Cost of ongoing medical needs
- Permanent damage to the body
- In-home care for lengthy recoveries
What are my rights if my dog bites someone?
Under section 25 of the Companion Animals Act, the owner of a dog is liable for damages if the dog attacks or injures another person. However, as already mentioned above, the owner will not be liable in instances where the attack was an immediate response to intentional provocation of the dog.
Speak to a dog bite personal injury lawyer
It is important to remember that dog bite injuries are a subspecialty of personal injury law. The intricacies of these cases are best handled by a professional who is accustomed to the regulations and laws that apply particularly to dog bite injuries. As such, it is a good idea to seek out legal advice from someone who specialises in this area of personal injury.
If you find yourself in need of assistance with a dog bite personal injury claim, or any other legal issue, please contact the law offices of Owen Hodge Lawyers. At Owen Hodge, we are always happy to assist clients in understanding the full ramifications of any and all of your legal needs. Please feel free to call us at your earliest convenience to schedule a consultation at 1800 770 780.