Most dogs are perfectly friendly. If they are well trained and brought up by a responsible owner, there should be no reason why they would attack someone. However, every year there are people who call us wanting to know the answer to ‘how much compensation can you get for a dog bite?’
In truth, it’s very difficult to work out any likely amount of compensation someone might receive. Lots of factors will need to be considered before a successful claim is settled. So, ‘how much compensation can you get for a dog bite?’ may be a question people ask, but there is no clear answer that applies across the board. The NHS states that dog bites are more common in the summer than the winter, probably because more people are likely to be out with their dogs. Furthermore, dogs may more commonly be in their gardens, and if they have a chance to escape, they may potentially attack someone who visits the property, a postman, for example.
Where are you most likely to be bitten?
When you ask ‘how much compensation can you get for a dog bite?’ you should consider the number of bites you have and how serious each one was. For example, you may be more fortunate and the dog may not have broken the skin. You will likely have bruising and some pain around the area of the bite, but that will be the extent of the injury.
However, on many occasions where a bite occurs, the skin is broken. Dog bites tend to lead to deep puncture wounds, some deeper than others. The skin can easily be torn and extensive bleeding may occur. One report stated the number of people requiring medical treatment for a bite or strike by a dog had risen in the 10-year period leading up to 2014-15. From March 2014 to February of the following year, 7,227 people required treatment after a dog attack. This was far higher than the same period 10 years previously, when the figure was confirmed to be 4,110 people.
Bites can occur to any part of the body, but the hands are the most common area to be bitten on. Children are shorter, and so bites to the face are not uncommon, because they may be the same height as the attacking dog. Some dogs will jump up as they attack too, which is another point to consider. Wounds can vary, depending on the dog involved and how serious the attack is. This is another reason why the question ‘how much compensation can you get for a dog bite?’ cannot easily be answered. Here are a few typical injuries that could potentially occur:
- Deep puncture wounds
- Injuries where the skin is torn and ripped
- Broken bones if the bite wound is deep enough
- Amputations are possible if bites to fingers and hands are serious enough
- Nerve damage
Clearly, you want to try and avoid being bitten if you possibly can. The NHS offers three pieces of advice to help minimise the odds of being bitten by any dog. These are:
- Do not try to approach a dog you don’t know – let it come to you first
- Never leave any child alone with any dog, no matter how friendly the dog seems to be
- Respect all dogs and give them their space – don’t encroach on them
Who is most at risk of receiving a dog bite?
This type of injury can happen to anyone. However, following the steps given above should help reduce the odds of you being injured. After all, no one would ever want to be in a position where they have good reason to ask ‘how much compensation can you get for a dog bite?’
However, postmen and other delivery personnel visiting properties are particularly at risk of being bitten by dogs. One article revealed 2,600 postmen were attacked by dogs in 2015 alone. Since the postman is essentially a stranger approaching a property that may have a dog in it, it is vital the owner of the dog ensures the animal cannot get to the postman, or attempt to bite him or her through the letterbox.
Is it easy to find out whether you could claim compensation?
It is easy, yes, and it is worth doing so. Of course, the immediate reaction to receiving a dog bite will be one of shock and upset. The adrenaline will be flowing and you may find you don’t feel pain because of this. The first question to come to you will not be ‘how much compensation can you get for a dog bite?’ However, once the initial shock subsides and you’ve had a chance to assess your injuries and get treatment for them, you can find out whether you have a right to try and claim some compensation for what happened to you.
It is also likely you will feel fear whenever you are close to dogs after the attack. This holds true even if your injuries were minor. Being bitten by a dog is a frightening experience, and if you go back into a similar situation where dogs are nearby, you may feel that same sense of fear again. Do seek medical advice if this happens to you, because further treatment may help you recover mentally. This will also ensure the treatment and GP visit are both recorded on your medical records, and may prove useful if you do decide to make a claim.
Claiming for a dog bite
If you want to know ‘how much compensation can you get for a dog bite?’ in relation to your own injuries, you can call Accident Advice Helpline today. This is easy to do on 0800 689 0500, or on 0333 500 0993 if you’re calling from a mobile phone. Our experts are ready to assist wherever possible, and if you have a strong claim one of our lawyers will help you make a no-win, no-fee* claim against the third party.
Date Published: 4th October 2013