If someone is claiming money from you for the actions of your dog, get in touch with our team for assistance by calling us on 01304 755 557.
Dog damage claims apply if a dog:-
- injures someone, or
- damages someone’s property, or
- harms another animal.
If someone makes a claim against you for compensation or damages, our team has the experience to offer support and legal advice. We offer a reduced cost fixed fee telephone consultation, costing just £60 for up to 20 minutes. To book an appointment call us on 01304 755 557 during normal office hours. Same-day appointments are sometimes available.
Please be aware that the information on this page relates to laws in England and Wales only and does not constitute legal advice. For guidance on your specific situation, please refer to the ‘How we can help you’ section of our website.
This is a civil case which can be complicated and the claim only needs to be proven on the ‘balance of probabilities’ (so that it was more likely than not). It is very unlikely that either party will be able to get Legal Aid.
You will probably have to pay out if:-
1.The incident was due to your negligence, which means that it was your fault:-
a) You owed the victim a duty of care, and
b) You breached that duty ie. did something you should not have done or you failed to do something you should have done, and
c) The incident occurred due to (b), and
d) The damage incurred was reasonably foreseeable.
2. You knew that the dog had dangerous characteristics and it has gone on to act in a similar fashion again.
If the amount claimed does not exceed £10,000 (or £1,000 in cases involving personal injury) then in most cases it will be heard in the Small Claims Court (which comes within the County Court).
An injury can range from a scratch, through to a serious bite. When incidents like this occur, depending on the individual circumstances, there could be a claim for compensation brought against the owner of the dog and/or the person who was in charge of the dog at the time.
The victim has three years to bring the claim, however, this time limit is extended if they were a child at the time of the incident.
Victims of this kind of personal injury will often have lawyers acting on their behalf under a conditional fee arrangement, which is sometimes called a ‘no win, no fee’.
You must also bear in mind that The Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 makes it a criminal offence for any breed of dog to be ‘dangerously out of control’. That can be shown if a dog injures a person (or assistance dog) or just makes someone reasonably fear injury to themselves, another person or an assistance dog. The penalties for being convicted of this offence can be severe for the owner, the person who had charge of the dog as well as for the dog itself.
If you are facing an allegation that your dog has injured a person, you must notify your insurers without delay. If you don’t have third party liability cover then we can advise you on liability (ie do you have legal responsibility to pay) as well as quantum (ie how much the claim is likely to be).
Claims that your dog has damaged someone’s property can refer to damage caused in their home or garden, or even outside including damage to vehicles.
A civil claim can be brought by the owner of the damaged property.
For dog on dog incidents or dog on other animal cases, they will only come within the criminal law in limited circumstances.
Please see our pages on the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991, the Dogs (Protection of Livestock) Act 1953 and the Dogs Act 1871. However, even if the criminal law does not apply, a civil claim can be brought by the owner of the injured dog (or other animal) for damages.
We strongly recommend that all dog owners have public liability insurance for dogs to cover you for these kinds of third-party liability claims.
Please check the terms of your particular policy to understand what you are, and what you are not covered for and in particular read any exclusions that apply.
If you do not yet have cover under this insurance then please look into getting it as soon as you can.
If you would like to discuss your situation with one of our Doglaw advisers, please call us during normal office hours on 01304 755 557.
We understand the stress and upset these situations create and all calls are treated in the strictest of confidence. We will need to carry out a conflict check to ensure that we haven’t already advised the other party. Once this check has been cleared, we can take payment via debit or credit card for £60 and then schedule a telephone appointment at a time that suits you. The call will last up to 20 minutes.
After this advice call, you can then decide whether you would like to instruct us to act for you in the case. We appreciate that this kind of case can be expensive, therefore, we can set up a payment plan for you, or perhaps look to just help you with some parts of the case.