Dog bites are on the increase

What should you do if you or a family member are the victim?

Our personal injury team can help you seek compensation following a dog bite or dog attack.

In May 2015 it was reported that the number of people taken to hospital after dog attacks had risen by 76% in the past decade. With rates of hospital admissions for dog bites the highest in urban areas (81%), and "between two and three times as high for the 10% most deprived areas”.

The Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 banned certain dog breeds in this country but sometimes these attacks are made by dogs which are not listed. The increase in attacks could be due to the welfare of the dog and also the dog’s temperament and this now being investigated and examined by MPs to see if the current legislation needs to be changed.

What should you do in the first instance if you are bitten by a dog?

There are some key pieces of information that are helpful to gather if you or a family member were attacked and wished to seek compensation:

  1. Locate the owner of the dog -  find out who owns the dog that attacked you and make a careful note of their name and address;
  2. Ask about insurance - pet insurance is now very common in the UK and if the dog that bit you is insured it significantly increases your prospects of recovering compensation. If the attack took place on private property then ask for details of the owner’s insurance arrangements. If it is a private dwelling then the incident could be covered by home insurance. If it happened in commercial premises then it will be public liability insurance. Request details of the insurance company and the policy number if it is available;
  3. Obtain the details of any witnesses – witnesses can provide invaluable evidence in legal cases. If anyone saw the incident then ask them for their name and address;
  4. Make a written record of what occurred - it is advisable to make some written notes as soon as you feel well enough to do so. These can be called upon if the circumstances of the incident are challenged at a later date;
  5. Call the police - where a serious incident occurs that leaves you suffering injury then we would recommend that you call the police immediately. The police may be able to assist in obtaining information about insurance and contact any key witnesses;
  6. Seek medical attention for your injuries - seek hospital treatment if required or consult your GP. Details of your injuries will then be included in your medical records and this evidence can later be made available; and
  7. Take photographs - keeping a photographic record of your injuries can be very helpful.

If you require further legal help or assistance following a dog bite or attack and you would like to discuss further with our Personal Injury team please call 01733 882800 or email info@hcsolicitors.co.uk .

Author

Gemma Winterton, Paralegal

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This article has been prepared for general interest and information purposes only; it does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied on as such. While all possible care has been taken in the preparation of this article, no responsibility for the accuracy and/or correctness of the information and commentary set out in the article, or for any consequences of relying on it, is assumed or accepted by the firm or the authors.