What should you do if you have suffered a dog attack or dog bite?

Fri 26th Apr 2024
What should you do if you have suffered a dog attack or dog bite?

Suffering a dog bite can be traumatic and life changing. But what should you do if you have been the victim of a dog attack?

As anyone who has had a furry companion can attest, dogs can form an important part of a family. According to the PDSA, in 2023 there were 11 million pet dogs in the UK. That means 29% of adults owned a dog in 2023. But in some cases, dogs can act out beyond your control; and in the worst case, injure someone else. According to the BBC, police forces recorded over 30,000 offences of a dog injuring a person or guide dog in 2023 in England and Wales. This was up 21% when compared to 2022.

As personal injury lawyers we see the terrible injuries that a dog can cause and the dreadful impact this can have on someone’s future. Attacks by larger dogs, like XL Bully’s, tend to get lots of press as the injuries they can inflict can be more severe. But all dogs are capable of inflicting injuries which can be just as terrifying.

Demelza Pallant, Associate in the Personal Injury team at Coodes, explores what you should do if you have been bitten by a dog and when to seek legal support.

If you are a dog owner

There is a legal duty to keep your dog under control. In addition, the Dangerous Dog Act 1991 imposed restrictions on different types of dogs traditionally bred for fighting. The act also made it an offence for an owner to allow any dog “to be dangerously out of control”. In 2023, the UK Government introduced updates to the act which added XL Bully type dogs to the list of dogs banned.

If you are a dog owner, it’s important to safeguard yourself against any problems in the future. Make sure you get your pet insured and it covers the event of your dog injuring someone. No one wants to see their loved pet cause harm to others but if they are not insured you may find a claim made against you personally.

If you have suffered a dog bite

Suffering a dog bite can be terrifying. In the immediate aftermath of the event there are some steps to take if you are able to, that may help you later.

  1. Make sure the name, address and telephone number of the dog owner is obtained. Also details of the dog’s name and breed. If possible, get the dog’s insurance details.
  2. Get any dog bite looked at by a GP or hospital. The injury can be complex and there are risks from the bites. Bites which are more serious should be treated at hospital.
  3. You may feel it appropriate to report the incident to the police to consider if a criminal offence has been committed.
  4. Preserving any evidence early on could be crucial if you decide at a later date to make a claim. It’s useful to get photos especially of the wound and the healing process.
  5. Keep a note of the number of medical appointments and any items you have had to purchase for the wound.

At Coodes, we understand the impact a dog attack can have on your physical and emotional wellbeing. The obvious impact is on your physical health which will depend on the severity of the wound itself. Your mental wellbeing can also be impacted as suffering a dog bite can be traumatic. Some of those injured in dog attacks can suffer with nightmares, flashbacks and fears of dogs. This is all quite normal after suffering a dog bite attack. If you make a claim, this can be as important as the wound recovery itself. This can affect your ability to work and enjoy time with your loved ones.

If you have been injured by a dog that is owned by someone else, it’s best to seek legal advice from someone experienced in this area. As an adult you have three years to bring a claim from the date of the accident, although we recommend doing so as early as you can.

At Coodes, our specialist Personal Injury Team are experienced in supporting victims to get the compensation they deserve to rebuild their lives.

If you are looking for some advice and support following a dog inflicted injury, get in touch with our team. Contact Demelza Pallant by emailing demelza.pallant@coodes.co.uk or calling 01326 213 037.

Fri 26th Apr 2024

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