The owner of a dog or the owner of the property where the dog is ordinarily kept is burdened by obligations both under the common law and statute to prevent any personal injury being occasion to a person as a result of an attack by that dog.
If injury does arise as a result of an attack by a dog then the owner of the dog of the owner of the premises where the dog is ordinarily kept can be held liable for damages to compensate the injured person.
The owner of the dog is liable for all and any injury caused by the dog wounding or attacking a person that occurs off the premises where the dog is ordinarily kept. That is, there is an absolute liability on the part of the owner of the dog for said wounding or injury.
If however the wounding or injury occurs on the property where the dog is ordinarily kept then the owner of the dog or of the property would not have imposed upon hem the statutory liability unless the person attacked was lawfully on the property. Similarly, the statutory liability would not attach to the owner of the dog or the owner of the property where the dog was ordinarily kept if the attack by the dog was in response to or induced by intentional provocation.
In circumstances where there has been a wounding or attack by a dog either on or off the premises where the dog is ordinarily kept common law liability can still attach to the owner of the dog or the owner of the property if it can be established that they have been negligent in that they have breached their duty of care to the person wounded or attacked.
What can I claim?
A person wounded or attacked by a dog who can establish liability on the part of the owner of the dog or the owner of the premises where the dog is ordinarily kept is entitled to recover modified common law damages of their injuries. The damages available are governed by the provisions of the Civil Liability Act 2002.
Firstly, the injured person is entitled to make a claim for non-economic loss. These are damages awarded to the person for their pain and suffering. The legislation provides that no claim for non-economic loss can be made unless the injured person can establish that the injury sustained equated to at least 15% of an extreme case. An extreme case would involve quadriplegia, paraplegia or some similarly horrendous injury. If the injury is assessed at being less than 15% of an extreme case then there is no award for damages under this heading.
The injured person is entitled to recover all reasonable and necessary medical treatment expenses. It is also open to the injured person to claim an allowance for future treatment expenses.
Any economic loss sufferd as a result of the injury is also recoverable. This includes a claim for future economic loss or diminution in the earning capacity of the injured person.
If the injured person requires domestic assistance which is provided gratuitously or by commercial carers then a claim can also be made subject to restrictions imposed under the legislation. For the purpose of making a claim for gratuitous care it is necessary for the injure person to establish that the need of the care amounts to at least 6 consecutive months and 6 hours per week. Once this threshold has been achieved a claim can be made for the value of the gratuitous care that is provided by family members and friends.
Additionally, the injured person, when successful in prosecuting a claim, can recover from the owner of the dog or the owner of the property where the dog was ordinarily kept a significant proportion of the legal costs incurred in the proceedings.
What to do
Brydens Lawyers are experts in the prosecution of claims for injuries sustained a result of a dog attack. Strict time limits apply to the prosecution of these claims. If you have been injured as a result of a dog attack then contact Brydens Lawyers today.