Although most people who have been attacked by dogs are entitled to make a criminal injury attack claim it can often be quite a complex and difficult process. In order to make a successful claim, it is critical to seek expert representation from specialist solicitors, such as the ones working at Accident Advice Helpline.
Who is at fault for your injury?
According to the UK Animals Act, which was introduced in 1971, an animal attack can be categorised as an accident when the owner is aware that the animal is dangerous, but still allows it out without suitable restraint or as criminal injury when the owner deliberately sets the animal on someone else.
Luckily, there are specific rules that impose strict liability on owners who are responsible for animals that cause damage and injury to other people. The Act separates animals into two categories; dangerous and non-dangerous. Whilst the rules regarding dangerous animals, for example, tigers, are very clear; things become more complicated when a case implies non-dangerous animals.
If a tiger escapes from the zoo and injures you, the persons directly responsible for the incident, such as the zoo owners, will be held liable for your injuries. However, if you are injured by a dog whilst on private property you need to prove a number of points in order to bring a successful claim for criminal injury compensation under the Animals Act 1971. These include:
- The dog was very likely to cause a serious injury, unless restrained
- The dog has attacked other people in the past or presents specific characteristics, which are not normally found in dogs of the same breed
- The owner did nothing to protect you, although he or she was aware of the characteristics of his or her dog.
If you are able to prove these three points, you may have a claim for compensation, even if the dog is considered non-dangerous.Open Claim Calculator
What else you can claim
Any criminal injury animal attack claim is subject to specific law remedies, which indicate additional circumstances in which you can make a compensation claim:
- Nuisance – the law of nuisance can be applied when an animal is causing persistent, significant noise or smell
- Occupier’s Liability – the occupier of a property has a duty of care to protect you from harm whilst you are on their property. If the owner fails to take caution against the animals that he or she owns you can bring a claim against them
- Trespass – the law of trespass may be actionable if animals stray onto your property
- Negligence – if you can prove that a pet owner has failed to prevent foreseeable events from occurring due to negligence, you may have grounds for a claim.
Although you can file a criminal injury animal attack claim against a person who has set his or her dog on you, the owner also has the right to raise a defence. For instance, if the owner can prove that you have trespassed onto their property or provoked the dog, the law will not hold them responsible for your injuries. However, these claims are often complex, so legal advice from the Accident Advice Helpline should be sought at an early stage.