Animal Attack Claims

Have you been attacked by a dog?

If you or your child have been attacked by an animal, for example a dog you may be entitled to compensation. The attack doesn’t necessarily mean a bite but personal injury including a traumatic experience as a result of the attack, i.e. shock or a lasting anxiety, means you may be entitled to claim for compensation for yourself or on behalf of your child. This applies in public places and in private residence.

Until the coming into force of The Control of Dogs Act 1986 (Section 21) the victim of an attack by a dog was required to prove a mischievous propensity in the dog. This was usually achieved by showing that the dog had previously attacked someone else. Hence the expression “a dog is allowed one bite”. That position changed in 1986 and since then it is a case of strict liability; the owner of a dog is liable in damages for damage caused in an attack on any person by the dog and for injury done by it to any livestock, and it is no longer necessary for the person seeking damages to show a previous mischievous propensity in the dog or to show that the injury or damage was attributable to any neglect on the part of the dog owner.

It should be noted that where a dog owner owns or occupies a premises which is insured, such person may well be insured for any injury caused by his/her dog to any third party under the public liability section of the policy (usually the contents insurance policy).
Under the Occupiers Liability Act of 1995, the Control of Dogs Acts 1986 and 1992, the Control of Horses Act 1996 and the Animals Act 1985 the owner of an animal has a duty of care to take reasonable steps to ensure the safety of members of the public who come in to contact with that animal.

Each type of animal is categorised differently under the headings “wild or domestic animals”. The Courts recognise that persons who keep a wild animal keep the animal at their own peril and if such an animal causes damage the owner may be strictly liable.

The owner of a tame animal however is liable only if he knows that the animal has a “mischievous propensity” to do the damage complained of. However in the case of a dog, the owner will be strictly liable under Section 21 of the 1986 Act if the dog bites a person. Tame animals include dogs, cats, horses, cattle but there are exceptions to this class of supposed tame animals. For example some dogs are automatically deemed dangerous, in circumstances where they are clearly used as guard dogs for security purposes. So, different rules apply depending upon whether you are the victim of a dog attack or a dog bite.

The knowledge of mischievous propensity which an animal owner must have is actual knowledge, although it does not matter whether it is acquired from personal observation, from hearsay, or through another person.

The injured Plaintiff who argues that the young foal has a tendancy to frolic and jump around people or that a dog that bounds enthusiastically at strangers will not have demonstrated a mischievous propensity to prove liability on the part of the animal owner. However it is sufficient for an injured Plaintiff to show that a dog “was always growling at children” (case of Duggan –v- Armstrong 1992) ie proof of a mischievous propensity is not that the dog will bite someone but that having displayed a vicious or fierce nature it may do so.

If you have a question about an animal attack contact us on
Locall: 1850 20 40 60, Tel: 01 453 7890, or tell about your case and start your claim today.

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