Us Brits love our family pets, but some pets can be anxious or overly protective and as a result, accidents like dog or horse bites are still possible, even if an animal is otherwise docile.
Injuries could seem minor such as a small dog bite, but they could leave a physical or emotional scar you will have to live with for life.
The most common injury from an animal is unfortunately dog bites, but it’s no longer just our friendly postman that is susceptible to bites, with online home deliveries becoming the norm, any type of delivery driver is now potentially at risk. Owners should take care to ensure that visitors are aware of animals prior to entering the property, such as a sign on a gate or front door.
In addition, with the UK population being encouraged to find alternative transportation and to exercise more, there are more people using paths and parks. This means when we are out walking our dogs or riding our horses, we need to be responsible for the safety of those around us and ensure we are keeping them on a lead and at a safe distance.
TYPES OF INJURIES FROM ANIMALS:
- Dog bites
- Cat scratches
- Horse bites
- Being thrown from your horse
- Knocked over by a large animal such as a cow or horse
WHAT YOU NEED TO RECORD:
It is important to record as much information about the animal and the situation that took place in the immediate aftermath of the injury. Your mobile camera can be a great tool as you are making a claim with facts vs. hearsay. In this example we will assume you’ve been bitten by a dog:
- Where did the dog bite take place?
- Why were you there?
- What were you doing just before it took place?
- What mood was the dog in? Was he or she giving off signals of being upset or nervous?
- What breed of dog was it?
- How old is the animal?
- How long has the owner had the animal?
- Did you report it to the police?
- Who is the owner?
- Does he or she have pet or home insurance?
MAKING AN ANIMAL INJURY CLAIM:
Be aware that a claim is not likely to be successful if there is proof that you were provoking the animal or if you were trespassing on the owner’s property.
Under the Animals Act 1971, dogs are generally considered to be a non-dangerous species, but there are certain circumstances that would result in a successful claim against the owner. With circumstances such as breed, consideration is given by the court to whether the breed is of a more dangerous kind that is likely to cause a severe bite if it was restrained, think the difference between being bitten by a Chihuahua, as opposed to a German Shepard, they are both as likely or unlikely to bite someone, but the larger animal is likely to cause significantly more damage.
Is the dog a dog breed prohibited to be kept under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 i.e. a Pit Bull Terrier, Japanese Tosa or another type of dog bred for fighting? This Act creates a criminal offence for the owner or person in charge of the dog if it was out of control in a public place.
There may be a claim if the matter was reported to the police and is a criminal offence, allowing you to potentially pursue a claim through the criminal injuries compensation authority.
If the bite took place at a neighbour’s property, you can pursue it under the Occupiers’ Liability Acts 1957 and 1984. Occupiers of premises have to take reasonable care to ensure visitors to the premises are safe.
If the animal was used intentionally to cause you harm, there may be a cause of action in battery, which is also a criminal offence.
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