My son was attacked by a dog yesterday – he received severe bites to both legs – what is the procedure for making a claim for a dog bite injury?
A compensation claim for a dog bite injury is relatively common in the UK and the procedure is quite similar to any other personal injury claim with one exception. Under the UK Statute of Limitations a ‘litigation friend’ must be appointed to act on behalf of the child as you are forbidden from appointing a solicitor or making a compensation claim until you reach the age of eighteen.
For a dog bite claim to be successful, you must demonstrate that the owner of the dog knew he/she was dangerous and therefore likely to attack if not controlled or restrained adequately. Under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 certain breeds of dog are required to be muzzled when in public places, if your child was attacked by any breed referenced in the act, you may be entitled to claim compensation.
There are a number of steps you can take to ensure you put yourself in a strong position to make a successful claim. Your first priority should be to seek professional medical attention for your son to ensure his health is looked after, if possible get the name of the dog owner and their address, it may be the case that you recognise the dog which could make this process much easier.
You are also advised to gather contact details of any witnesses of the incident and take photographs of the injuries the dog caused; it may also be worthwhile asking around the area to see if the dog has attacked anyone before. Once you have carried out those tasks, contact the local council and dog warden to notify them about the incident, you should also keep the receipts of any costs you incurred as a direct result of the attack to ensure you receive compensation for them.
When you have completed the above, speak with a personal injury solicitor to determine if it is worth your while pursuing a compensation claim for a dog bite injury. A personal injury solicitor will be able to calculate the amount of compensation your child may be entitled to receive and thus can advise on how you should proceed with your claim for a dog bite injury.