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Dog bite compensation - what are my rights?

5 minute read

Public liability

They may be known as ‘man’s best friend’, and whilst bringing much joy into many people’s lives, dogs also have the potential to cause serious injury and even death. The Australian Companion Animal Council estimated more than 100,000 people in Australia are attacked by dogs each year.

Did you know if you are attacked and injured by a dog, you may be eligible to make a dog bite claim? Read on to find out your legal rights in making a dog bite compensation claim.

What are my rights if I'm attacked by a dog?

Being bitten or attacked by a dog can be a terrifying experience. If you receive a non-serious bite or a dog runs at you or chases you, you can report this to your local council as it’s considered ‘menacing’ behaviour.

If you’re attacked or sustain a nasty bite, you should seek medical attention to ensure you receive proper care. You can then report the attack to your local council, or if it’s after hours, you can report the incident to the police. You may then be eligible to make a dog bite compensation claim, and the owner of the dog can be held liable for any injuries or damage it inflicts.

If your dog is attacked by another dog, you should seek medical attention from a vet and report the incident to your local council.

Below are some of the damages you may be entitled to receive if you’re successful in a dog bite compensation claim:

  • Medical, rehabilitation and hospital expenses

  • Loss of earnings

  • Pain and suffering

  • Loss of enjoyment of life

  • Home help and nursing provided by anyone, paid or unpaid, if it meets certain conditions.

Dog owner responsibilities

While laws surrounding dogs and dog ownership is governed by councils and can vary between local council areas, there are some general rules that remain the same Australia-wide.

These include:

  • A dog should be securely confined in a property, so they’re unable to escape. Visitors should also be able to access a your front door without being stopped by a your dog.

  • When taking your dog into public areas or out of your property, dogs must be restrained on a lead at all times (except in “off-leash” areas). If your dog is deemed to be dangerous, they must also be muzzled while in a public area. Dog owners that don't keep their dog confined or restrained properly could face hefty fines.

  • All dogs need to be registered and microchipped

  • A dog deemed to be dangerous must also be de-sexed.

If your dog attacks a person or another dog it will be taken very seriously, and owners could face large fines or even imprisonment. Pet owners could also face a dog bite compensation claim and might be held liable for any damage or injury their dog has caused.

Who pays for dog bite compensation?

What many people don’t know is that they may have insurance available to them to cover the legal liability of their dogs. This is often offered in pet or home and contents insurance, and dog owners may be covered if a third party’s property is damaged, or someone is injured or killed because of an incident involving their dog.

The cover usually includes not just amounts for compensation to the third party, but the legal costs and expenses of defending a claim, which could be substantial, especially where the circumstances of the incident are in dispute.

If you own a dog, we recommend reviewing your insurance policy to check that you’re covered for a dog attack incident and ensure the policy meets your individual circumstances and needs.

Contact us

Shine Lawyers are the dog bite compensation claim expertsget in touch today so we can help you right wrong.

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