Are you a homeowner who happens to be a dog lover?
What would you do if your dog attacked another person? Worse still, how about if you were attacked by a dog? Would you be automatically entitled to compensation? If yes, what damages could you claim? If you would like to find out more, read on.
There is no doubt that most dog attacks result in trauma and expose the owners to liability. In our experience, the vast majority of owners are not aware of their obligations regarding responsible dog ownership and the consequences that could flow if their beloved pet attacks somebody else.
Let’s start off with the basics: what exactly is a dog attack? As a dog owner, am I off the hook if my dog does not bite the victim?
Unless the owner establishes that the behaviour listed below was justified by a reasonable cause, it falls within the definition of “attack”:
- aggressively rushing at or harassing any person or animal;
- biting, or otherwise causing physical injury to, a person or an animal;
- tearing clothing on, or otherwise causing damage to the property of, the person attacked;
- attempting to attack, or behaving in such manner toward a person as would cause a reasonable person to fear physical injury.
So, for example, if a dog runs into someone, causing that person to fall and sustain injury, compensation may be payable even though the dog did not bite or was otherwise aggressive towards the victim.
Types of injury
Injuries from dog attacks can present in various forms including:
- broken bones – if the victim fell heavily or awkwardly onto the ground;
- piercing wounds;
- permanent muscle and/or nerve damage; or
- psychological trauma (for example, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder).
What can I claim?
If the injury sustained in the attack results in damages and losses, compensation can be claimed for:
- pain and suffering and loss of amenities of life (subject to the threshold set out in the Civil Liability Act);
- loss of income (if the injury results in incapacity for work);
- medical treatment;
- damage to clothing and personal belongings; and
- in the more severe cases, the cost of domestic assistance and services.
Am I automatically entitled to compensation if I have been attacked by a dog?
Each case is different so your entitlement to compensation depends on many factors. Sometimes, even though compensation is payable, the owner of the dog is impecunious. Whatever the case, it is best to consult with RZ Injury Lawyers so that all possible options are thoroughly investigated.
If you have been attacked by a dog, you should report it to the police immediately. Under the Dog Act 1976, the police have a wide range of powers to deal with such incidents.
How about if my dog attacked someone else?
If your dog attacked somebody and the victim made a claim against you, you could make a claim under and in accordance with your home and contents insurance policy. That’s right – in our experience, most policies include public liability cover. If you’re not sure, consider the Product Disclosure Statement, which is the contract between you and the insurance company.
Contact RZ Injury Lawyers Principal Lawyer Radek Zacharek on 0466 031 195 for an obligation-free initial consultation. The first consultation is always free. We act on a “no win, no fee” basis with absolutely no up-front or hidden fees!
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