Animal Attack Claims

Unfortunately, people are sometimes attacked by animals and they might suffer injuries as a result from the attack. 6,447 people were admitted to hospital for dog bites in 2011-2012, a 5.2% rise on the previous 12 months. 71% of attacks reported have been by dogs, and 29% by other mammals.

The type of injury could vary greatly from a scratch to a serious injury. The experience, as a whole, is rather traumatising and might leave a person with both physical and psychological problems.

If you have been attacked by an animal you can claim compensation for your injuries.

Animals Act 1971

The law on animal attacks is mainly governed by the Animals Act 1971. The Act distinguishes between ‘dangerous’ and ‘non-dangerous’ animals.

Dangerous animals:

  • Are not commonly domesticated in the British Isles, and;
  • When fully grown, unless restrained, are either likely to cause severe damage or are such that any damage which they case is likely to be severe.

Any animal which does not fall within the definition of being a dangerous animal, is a non-dangerous animal.
An example of a dangerous animal as per the Act would be a lion or a tiger.
An example of a non-dangerous animals as per the Act would be a dog or a cat.

If you have been attacked or had damage caused by an animal, then the person keeping the animal might be liable for your injuries and any damage done by the animal under the Animals Act 1971. The standard of proof required for dangerous animals is much lower than the standard of proof imposed in cases of non-dangerous animals.

Dangerous Dogs Act 1991

The Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 aims to categorise these dogs which are deemed to be dangerous and the public needs protection from. It provides that it shall be illegal to own any Specially Controlled Dog without a specific exemption issued by a court. These dogs must be muzzled and always kept on a lead in public. Furthermore, they must be registered, insured, neutered, tattooed and have microchip implants put. Breeding, sale and exchange of the Specially Controlled Dogs is forbidden, regardless of them being on the Index of Exempted Dogs.

The 1991 Act particularly identifies the following breeds:

  • Pit Bull Terrier
  • Japanese Tosa
  • DogoArgentino
  • Fila Brasileiro

It should be noted that cross breeds of these breeds of dogs are also covered under the Act. A dangerous dog is defined not by its breed, but by its type. Therefore, to determine whether a particular dog falls within the category, a court should examine the physical characteristics of the dog.

What to do if you have been injured by an animal?

  • Report the attack to the police and keep a record of your crime/accident reference number.
  • Identify and record the animal owner and their address.
  • Acquire the names and addresses of any witnesses.
  • Take photographs of your injury and any scarring it leaves behind. If possible, use a camera with a time and date function and place an object (e.g. a coin or a ruler) in the frame to give your wound/scar a scale.
  • Find out if the animal has attacked anyone else.
  • Keep a record of your out of pocket expenses (e.g. travel expenses, prescription charges, etc.) and keep any receipts.

Why Compensation Solicitors Online?

Our experienced team has represented clients in animal attack claims for many years.

We have successfully claimed compensation for our clients in a variety of circumstances, including:

  • Client had a dog set on him. He suffered scarring to his forearm.
  • Client was kicked by a horse in the leg. She suffered a trauma to her leg.
  • Client was kicked in the wrist by a horse.
  • Client was thrown own off by a horse. She suffered a fracture to her heel. The case was settled before court for £15,000.
  • Client was posting leaflets and had his hand through the letter box when a dog bit it on the other side of the door.

Your claim

An animal attack claim includes the following three steps:

Establishing liability (who was responsible for the accident):

  • The first step is to show who was at fault for the accident to take place and to what degree. This is not necessarily straightforward and sometimes contributory negligence may be found (the victim has contributed to some extent to the harm that s/he has suffered). However, this concept only plays a role in calculating the compensation value and does not affect the establishing of liability.
  • As per the Animals Act 1971.

Showing causation (showing that the accident caused the injury):
Once a degree of liability has been established, it must be demonstrated that the resulting injury has been caused by the accident, and not by a previous medical condition or another accident, for example.

Calculating the quantum (establishing the appropriate amount of compensation):
The compensation in such cases will have the purpose of attempting to put the claimant in the position s/he has been in before the accident. It is our specialist solicitors’ job to liaise with medical and other experts in order to prepare a Schedule of Loss, setting out the solutions and costs to all problems which the claimant has or may have in the future, as a result of the accident.

Our expert solicitors have experience in achieving the best results in all the three steps of the process, thus ensuring that you get the best compensation which you deserve.

Damages

There are two parts to any compensation claim, consisting of two types of damages:

General damages
General damages are calculated as a part of the compensation based on the type of injury and are designed to compensate for pain and suffering and the impact on the claimant’s enjoyment of life.

Special damages
Special damages are the more variable part of the compensation and depend on individual circumstances. The claimant may be able to recover:

  • Expenses relating to the cost of living with any disability;
  • Expenses to cover services provided by other people;
  • Increased accommodation costs;
  • Loss of earnings;
  • Medical expenses;
  • The cost of buying in care.

Establishing the level of special damages to be paid is a crucial part of a compensation claim. Compensation Solicitors Online have experience in compensation claims in cases of personal injury.

Timing

Generally, personal injury claims have a three year time limit i.e. court proceedings have to be issued at least one day before the third anniversary of the accident , otherwise they will be time barred and you will no longer be able to pursue your claim. (There are a few exceptions to this rule and the court does have some very limited discretion to extend the various time limits). You can still pursue a claim for personal injury after the third anniversary of the accident, you just have to make sure court proceedings have been issued before that third anniversary in order to do so. We will be happy to discuss this further with you.

If you are a minor at the time of the accident, i.e. under 18 then the 3 year limitation date starts to run after you have turned 18. Furthermore, there also a complicated set of rules that allows the 3 years limitation date period to run from the date of knowledge of the incident/accident. These rules normally apply to clinical/medical negligence cases or industrial disease claims, where they may be a long latency period between the incident giving rise to your claim and you first suffering any symptoms and becoming aware of it. The rules on this are technical and we will, once again, be happy to discuss this in detail with you.

Funding

There are a variety of funding options open to you. We will discuss these options with you in more detail and where appropriate represent you on a no win no fee basis (also known as a Conditional Fee Agreement).

CICA Claim

State compensation has been available in Great Britain for victims of crimes of violence since 1964. The Criminal Injuries Compensation Act 1995 placed criminal injuries compensation on a statutory footing and introduced a tariff of awards.

If you have been a wholly innocent victim of violent crime in England or Wales you may be able to claim personal injury compensation from the CICA. Thus, you might be able to claim compensation for your injuries suffered by an animal attack by making a CICA claim.

There is a two year deadline for making your claim to the CICA.

You could make claim for compensation through the CICA as well as a claim for personal injury against the animal owner/carer, if appropriate. However, the compensation you receive from their insurer would be deducted from any compensation paid by the CICA. Should the civil damages you receive be more than the amount awarded by the CICA, then all of the CICA’s award must be refunded. Furthermore, all monies which you have received or may receive in the future as a result of the assault must be declared to the CICA.

For more information, please see our Criminal Injury Claims section.

Make a claim

If you would like to speak directly to one of our team you can either call us on 0208 203 4999 or send us your enquiry and we will give you a call back to discuss your claim within 1 business day.

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