family safety

How to Claim Compensation for Dog Bites

Bitten by a Dog

Being Bitten by a Dog

Every year, hundreds of thousands of people get bitten by a dog badly enough to require some form of hospital treatment. About three quarters of people bitten are the dog owner or carer themselves, and around half of all attacks take place while the dog is on its owner’s property. Naturally, this means that personal injury claims from dog bites are pretty common, so much so that they are a sub-specialisation in personal injury law.  If you are bitten, the chances are that your personal health insurance will take care of your immediate medical bills, but what about if you are seriously injured and have to take time off work, causing loss of income?

What Can you Claim For?

You can file a claim to be compensated for past and future medical expenses, any financial loss, if unable to work, and any material damages. A further claim for compensation can be made in case of death, with who has been killed being a big factor, especially if it is the household wage earner. Many cases are relatively small though, and can be taken to the small claims tribunal, which can deal with claims of up to $10,000. There are time limits on being able to claim compensation, so it is advisable to pursue any claim swiftly. Personal injury lawyers in Brisbane, or wherever you are in the country, can advise you on how to pursue a claim.

What Evidence Is Needed For a Claim

Many lawyers will offer you an initial free consultation to discuss your case, though it is advisable to bring as much information and documentation with you as possible. Firstly, you should provide photographs of your injuries and if possible, the dog too, along with a medical report, detailing the extent of your injuries and the medical treatment given, with details of any further treatment that may be needed and medical costs incurred. You should provide a detailed written report of the events that led up to the attack, along with any witness statements. In particular, you should detail the behaviour of both the dog, and if he or she was present, the owner. If you have suffered loss of earnings, you should provide evidence to support this.

Proving Negligence

Your claim has a better chance of a good pay-out, if you can show provable negligence. Being able to show that the dog owner has been negligent is often not a straight forward matter, and may require professional assistance in proving. You are going to also need to be able to show that you were not yourself negligent in the incident, as questions will undoubtedly arise regarding your own behaviour, and whether it was contributory to the dog’s attack. Dogs after all rarely attack people for no reason. The amount you can expect to be compensated, will often be relative to the degree of responsibility you carry. If you own a dog yourself, it is a very good idea to purchase bite insurance and to make sure your gate has a clear warning that a dog is present. You can find a large collection of warning signs and other dog related products from Dogs Corner.

If you have been bitten and injured, you should discuss your case with your local legal professional, who can help you increase your chances of a just amount of compensation.


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