Dog Bite – What are my legal options?

For many of us there would be few things scarier than the prospect of being attacked and/or bitten by a dog. There are very strict laws in place concerning the ownership of a dog and the potential liability of the owner if the dog does in fact attack somebody.

With respect to a dog attack the law is very clear. The Companion Animals Act provides that any dog in a public place must be under the effective control of some competent person by means of a chain, cord or leash. There are also some places where dogs are prohibited including children’s play areas. There is also a requirement for certain breeds of dogs to be muzzled.

The legislation clearly provides that the owner of the dog is liable for injury to a person caused by the dog wounding or attacking that person. However, the legislation does not apply in relation to an attack by the dog occurring on any property on which the dog is ordinarily kept but only if the person attacked was not lawfully on the property and the dog had not been identified as a dangerous, menacing or restricted dog. Additionally, the owner of the dog would not be held liable if the dog attack was in immediate response to and wholly induced by the intentional provocation of the dog by a person other than the owner of the dog.

Invariably, the public liability insurer for the owner of the dog will respond to any claim for damages for injury arising out of a dog attack. Unfortunately, the ownership of a dog does not require public liability insurance to be held by the owner and there have been many instances where persons have suffered significant personal injury as a result of a dog attack but have been left unable to recover proper compensation by reason of the absence of insurance in circumstances where the owner of the dog does not have any assets that could be called upon to satisfy a judgment.

If you or someone you know has suffered personal injury as a result of a dog attack then a valuable claim to compensation may be available for the injuries suffered. Strict time limits apply to the making of such claims. Contact Brydens Lawyers today for a free, no-risk assessment of your claim on 1800 848 848 or @brydens.com.au.