By Jo Anderson. Last Updated 20th November 2023. In this guide, we explain the process of dog bite claims and receiving dog bite compensation. Below, we reveal answers to common questions asked by people who seek compensation after they’ve suffered dog attack injuries.
If a dog has bitten or attacked you, then you could suffer a variety of injuries, such as permanent scarring. You could potentially claim personal injury compensation for a dog attack if you can establish that the attack was caused by the owner’s negligence.
Within this guide, we’ll cover laws that are relevant to potential dog bite claims. We’ll also look at potential payouts for dog bite compensation.
To speak to an advisor about making a dog attack claim, you can call us on 0800 073 8801 or contact us online through our 24/7 live chat service. One of our friendly advisors will be happy to speak to you. If you have a legitimate case, we could potentially connect you with one of our No Win No Fee solicitors for support.
Select a section
- What Are The Criteria For Dog Bite Claims?
- What Evidence Do I Need To Prove A Dog Bite Claim?
- Current Laws On Dog Bites And Attacks And The Proposed Changes
- Who Do I Make A Dog Bite Claim Against?
- What Types Of Injuries Can Be Caused By Dog Bites?
- Examples Of Dog Bite Compensation Payouts
- Can I Make A No Win No Fee Dog Bite Claim?
- Learn More About Dog Bite Claims
Not everyone attacked by a dog would be able to make a dog bite claim. To be eligible, you would need to prove that:
- Someone owed you a duty of care.
- They breached this duty.
- Your injuries were caused by this breach.
You could be eligible to claim for a dog bite if:
- Someone owns a banned breed of dog, and it bites you. This could breach the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991. The owner could face criminal charges for this.
- Someone fails to keep control of their dog, and it bites you.
Dog walkers and dog owners have a responsibility to keep their dog under control and to prevent it from causing harm. If they fail to do so, and you are injured, you may be able to make a claim.
If you’re unsure as to whether you’d be eligible to claim compensation for a dog bite, please contact an advisor.
How Long Do I Have To Make A Dog Bite Claim?
If you have been injured due to a dog bite, you could potentially make a claim. However, a dog bite claim must be started within the correct time limits. The time limits are the same as personal injury claims and can be found in the Limitation Act 1980. Generally, you have 3 years to start your claim from the date you were injured.
Certain exceptions could apply to these time limits. For example, if your child was harmed due to a dog attacking them, they will have 3 years to make a claim once they turn 18. Before this point, the time limit is suspended, and a litigation friend could make a claim on their behalf. A litigation friend is appointed by the court and could be a parent, sibling, solicitor etc.
Additionally, someone who lacks the mental capacity to make a claim could have a litigation friend claim on their behalf.
Dog bite claims can come in the form of either personal injury claims or criminal injury claims. While similar types of evidence can be helpful across both types, the claims will be made against different parties and so can have different requirements.
In a personal injury claim you will be claiming directly against the dog owners. Evidence that could be useful to you could be:
- The identity of the owner of the dog (and their contact details)
- Contact details of witnesses to the attack
- A police report, if possible, of the attack
These could all help prove liability for your injuries when making personal injury dog bite claims. You can also collect other types of evidence that could either show the extent of your injury, or act as supporting evidence of the financial effects of your injury.
This can be evidence such as:
- Pictures of your injury following the attack
- A medical report of your injury
- Receipts for prescriptions or other costs going towards your treatment or care
- Payslips, or contracts for work, that can support your claim for loss of earnings
Criminal injury claims are made through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority. The evidence necessary for these types of claims are:
- A police report of the crime
- A medical report of your injury
We understand these attacks can happen in a number of different ways. If you are looking for information about evidence that you could collect specifically in your claim, please reach out to one of our advisers. They can give you help with collecting evidence and discuss the dog bite compensation you could be able to seek in your claim.
Before we explore dog bite claims in more detail, we should explain the laws that exist to protect people from out-of-control dogs.
In the UK, it is unlawful for your dog to be out of control in public or private places. A dog is considered to be dangerously out of control if the dog makes someone scared that it might injure them or actually does injure them. Courts could also decide that a dog is out of control if it attacks someone else’s animal, or an owner of an animal thinks they would suffer injuries if they tried to stop a dog’s attack on their animal. However, if a dog attacks an intruder, or defends itself against another dog attack, the owner will not be considered responsible.
The Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 underpins the requirement that dog owners ensure their dog is under control. The Act also contains a list of banned breeds, which includes Fila Brasileiro, Dogo Argentino, Japanese Tosa, and Pit Bull Terrier.
From 31st December 2023, XL-Bully type dogs will also be banned in the UK. It will be an offence to rehome, advertise, breed or sell these types of dogs. Allowing such dogs to stray or abandoning them will also be offences.
Those who have such dogs will also be required to ensure they are muzzled and on a lead in public. Furthermore, they should be neutered and microchipped.
If you believe you have been attacked by an out-of-control dog, or a banned breed, please contact an advisor to see if you could claim compensation for a dog bite injury.
You would typically make a personal injury claim against the owner of the dog. However, dog bite claims can also be eligible for criminal injury compensation. This would be only the case if you can prove that the owner had acted maliciously; the dog bite would have to be something they intentionally instigated.
There are instances where you may be able to claim against your employer. For example, if you experienced a dog bite at work because your employer failed to instill necessary protective measures.
Can You Make A Dog Bite Compensation Claim For A Child Who Was A Dog Bite Victim
If your child has been attacked by a dog in an unprovoked attack, you could make a compensation claim on their behalf before they turn 18. If you do not, they will have 3 years to make a claim for themselves after their 18th birthday to claim for suffering a dog bite attack injury. You would have to act as a litigation friend when claiming for such child accident claims.
Can I Claim Dog Bite Compensation If I Was Attacked By A Stray Dog?
If a stray dog has bitten you it may be harder to claim personal injury compensation. If the dog’s owner can be identified then you can claim compensation payouts for dog bites from them. But be mindful of the circumstances before making dog bite claims.
Allowing the dog to stray is a form of negligence on the part of the owner of the dog, so this would support your claim for dog attack compensation. If the dog’s owner cannot be identified you may be able to claim dog attack compensation from your local council or the company that managed the grounds on which your dog was bitten, for allowing the dog to stray on those grounds.
There are many types of injuries that can be the result of dog bites and dog attacks. Here are some of the most common injuries dog bites:
- Puncture wounds: bites can cause varying degrees of injuries. As we have mentioned, if your skin is broken by a dog bite, the bacteria in the dog’s mouth can be transmitted to the open wound and cause infections. The NHS recommends that you seek immediate medical treatment if you are bitten by a dog and it breaks the skin. This could avoid the spread of infection.
- Scars: A dog bite or scratch can cause scars, such as facial scarring. In serious cases, the victim may require plastic surgery. This, of course, can affect the dog bite victim sense of self-esteem and cause psychological damage.
- Broken bones or bone crush injuries: If you are attacked by a large dog, which pushes you to the ground you can break or fracture a bone upon impact with the ground.
- Head or brain injuries: If the dog attack victim hits their head because the dog pushes them over, or the dog bites them on the head, this can cause brain injuries or head injuries.
- Psychological damage: Being attacked by a dog can be a terrifying and traumatic experience. Victims can develop a fear of dogs or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The victim may need extensive psychological treatment as a result.
- Unfortunately, some dog attacks and dog bite attacks could potentially result in fatalities. You can learn more about claiming for wrongful death in our separate guide on the subject.
Contact us today for free legal advice on seeking compensation payouts for a dog bite attack injury.
When claiming dog bite compensation, your settlement could consist of general and special damages. General damages aim to compensate you for the pain and suffering that your dog attack injury has caused you.
To help you gain a clearer idea of what you could receive in general damages for a successful claim, we have created the following table. Many legal professionals will refer to the Judicial College Guidelines (JCG) to help them value claims. This is because this document provides guideline compensation brackets for various physical and psychological injuries. This is why we have used the figures listed in the 16th edition of the JCG when creating this table.
It should also be noted that the top entry of this table is not included within the JCG.
|Type of injury
|Multiple Serious Injuries including Special Damages
|Up to £100,000+
|Several injuries that cause pain and suffering as well as financial losses.
|Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder – Severe
|£59,860 to £100,670
|All aspects of the person’s life will be negatively affected, and they will have trouble functioning the same as they did pre-trauma.
|Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder – Moderate
|£8,180 to £23,150
|Th person will have made a significant recovery with only minor effects continuing.
|Facial Disfigurement – Very Severe Scarring
|£29,780 to £97,330
|Applicable to younger claimants who have suffered a disfiguring cosmetic effect and severe psychological reaction.
|Facial Disfigurement – Less Severe Scarring
|£17,960 to £48,420
|A substantial disfigurement with a significant psychological reaction.
|Facial Disfigurement – Significant Scarring
|£9,110 to £30,090
|Plastic surgery will have reduced the worst of the effects but there will still be some cosmetic disability.
|Facial Disfigurement – Less Significant Scarring
|£3,950 to £13,740
|Multiple smaller scars or one scar. The reaction is no more than that of a ordinarily sensitive person.
|Facial Disfigurement – Trivial Scarring
|£1,710 to £3,530
|The scars will only cause a minor effect.
|Scarring to Other Parts of the Body
|£7,830 to £22,730
|A large portion of noticeable scars on the legs/arms/hands/back/chest or one disfiguring scar.
|Scarring to Other Parts of the Body
|£2,370 to £7,830
|Several superficial scars or one noticeable scar to the hands/arms/legs with a minor cosmetic defecit.
Any financial losses you have suffered due to your injury could be compensated under special damages. Some of the financial losses you could claim under special damages include a loss of earnings, medical costs, and travel expenses. You will need to provide evidence of these financial losses, such as receipts, bank statements, and invoices.
Contact our friendly advisors today if you have any questions about how to claim for a dog bite. Our advisors could also offer you free legal advice regarding your specific claim and could connect you with one of our experienced solicitors.
If you suffered a dog attack injury and are eligible for compensation, you may wish to have the support of a solicitor. You could have the representation of a solicitor providing their services on a No Win No Fee basis under an arrangement called a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA).
When a solicitor provides legal support under a CFA, they usually won’t ask you to pay for their services upfront or ask you to cover any ongoing expenses. If they help you recover dog bite compensation, they will take a success fee out of your award. The CFA caps the amount they can take. If your solicitor fails and you aren’t awarded compensation, they usually won’t require payment for their services.
If you would like to start your claim for a dog bite, contact our advisors, who can answer any questions you might have about the legal process for free. In addition, they can assess whether your claim has a reasonable chance of success. If an advisor thinks it is eligible, you could be passed on to one of our solicitors, who typically offer No Win No Fee arrangements.
To talk to an advisor:
- Start your claim by filing in our form for a call back.
- Call 0800 073 8801
- Use our live webchat at the bottom of your screen.
Below, you can find more useful information on claiming dog bite compensation. For more advice, please get in touch:
- How Much Compensation Can I Claim for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder? – A dog attack may have affected your mental health. If you’re suffering, read our guide to claiming compensation for PTSD.
- How Much Compensation Can I Claim for a Leg Injury? – Did a dog bite lead to your leg injuries? Read our guide for advice.
- An NHS guide to dog bite injuries
- An RSPCA guide to responsible dog ownership
- A government guide to controlling your dog in public
- Child Accident Claims
- Wrongful Death Claim
- You can read our guide on who is responsible for reporting hazards and accidents in the workplace
Thank you for reading our guide to dog bite claims.