Dogs are a man’s best friend and Britain is certainly a nation of dog lovers with more than nine million hounds being kept as pets throughout the UK. Although there are also strays and wild dogs out there, making the number of dogs in the UK even higher, it is pet dogs that are responsible for the majority of bite injuries.
Although a dog in the park might look friendly, it’s important to remember that all animals are unpredictable. Figures show that there are over 200,000 dog bites in the UK each year and that number is continually rising. Although the majority of dogs will never attack, it’s really important to be wary and know how to handle a bite should you ever have to deal with one. A dog bite not only leaves physical wounds, and eventually scars, it leaves emotional and mental scars too. Dog bites are painful and whether it’s from your own dog or a stranger’s dog, it is something that will take a long time to get over and could even mean that you become nervous and afraid around other dogs in the future.
Just like any other injury, you can claim compensation for a dog bite injury. However, a lot of people struggle when it comes to beginning legal proceedings because they’re unaware of the processes.
You should be aware that just because you’ve been bitten doesn’t mean you’re automatically entitled to compensation so you should contact a legal expert to find out whether you might be entitled to make a claim.
Steps to take if you’re bitten by a dog
All dog bites should be reported to the police and medical advice should be sought immediately after the event. In many cases you’ll be given a tetanus injection if yours are not up to date, in order to prevent any infections.
You should take photos of any injuries that you sustain and keep receipts of hospital parking tickets, medication and any other costs that are incurred as a direct result of the accident. These costs are not limited to medical costs; if the bite damaged your clothing, mobile phone or any other property, or it was serious enough to prevent you from working and therefore resulted in a loss of earnings, all of this can be claimed back if you’re successful.
If the dog is not your own then, if possible, you should get the name and address of the dog’s owner and any witnesses that saw the attack. Every dog owner has a duty of care to keep their dog under control, which means if the dog bites you in an unprovoked attack, they’ve breached their duty of care. As the majority of dog owners will have pet insurance and a solicitor will be able to help you claim damages through their insurer.
Once you’ve found yourself a solicitor and have talked them through the attack, your work is pretty much done. You won’t have to worry about the cost of legal proceedings as a lot of legal professionals will work on a no win, no fee basis. Your solicitor will be the one to contact the police – for their report – as well as any witnesses to the attack, for their version of events, which makes the whole process a lot less stressful for you.