They may be ‘man’s best friend’ but every year there are fatal dog attacks in Australia. Dog attacks involving children are particularly distressing. Just last year a toddler was attacked and killed by a dog in Deniliquin. While most attacks are not fatal, injuries sustained in a dog attack can be traumatic leaving victims with life-long physical and psychological scars.
There are a number of ways to obtain compensation for injuries sustained from a dog attack. One way is to commence civil proceedings in the event the dog’s owner or keeper was negligent. All pet owners have a duty to make sure their animals are kept under control. It is an offence for a dog to be out of control in a public place. One typical example is where a dog owner failst to take reasonable precautions to ensure the dog does not escape the owner’s property by leaving a gate or door open or failing to fix a hole in the fence.
Under the Companion Animals Act, in NSW an owner of a dog is liable to pay compensation to a person who is injured (or whose personal property is damaged) by the dog wounding or attacking the injured person. There is no requirement to prove negligence. However, the Courts have held that a dog does not necessarily need to make contact with its victim to be found to have caused injuries. For example, it could be sufficient to show that the dog running towards the victim caused the victim to fall off his or her bicycle. Compensation is not payable if the victim is unlawfully on the property where the dog is normally kept, or if the victim or some person other than the dog’s owner were intentionally provoking the dog prior to the attack.
Depending on the circumstances, other parties could also be held liable for the injuries sustained including the local council or even the land lord if the dog owner was living in a rented property.
Remember that strict time limits apply to making these claims. If you or your loved ones have been bitten by a dog and have suffered injury as a result, you may be entitled to compensation. We strongly advise you to speak to a Personal Injury solicitor as soon as possible.
At Brazel Moore Lawyers we have 33 years of assisting the people of the Central Coast. Call us now on 4324 7699.