PERSONAL INJURY

Dog bite claims and compensation

Last year, the HSE reported that the number of patients requiring hospital treatment for injuries sustained as a result of a dog attack had soared by 50 percent over the last decade. The majority of patients injured were aged under the age of 14 and required emergency medical treatment. It is likely that many more people suffered injuries but were treated by their General Practitioners. The reasons for the increase in injuries is multi-factorial and is a debate for another forum.

The purpose of this article is to examine the law regarding liability for dog attacks and compensation.

In Ireland, there is strict liability for injuries caused by a dog in accordance with The Control of Dogs Act. A dog owner is responsible for injuries caused by their dog, regardless of negligence. This means that it is not necessary for the Plaintiff (the person taking the claim) to show fault on the part of the dog owner- it is not necessary to show that the dog had a propensity to be vicious, or that the owner failed to take any, or any reasonable measures to prevent the dog attack from arising. In simple terms, if you are injured due to a dog bite, or a dog attack, the owner of the dog is responsible for your injuries.

  • I was bitten by my neighbour’s dog. My neighbour says that the dog had never bitten anyone before. He was on a lead and she says this was simply an accident and she is not responsible. Do I have grounds for a claim?

    Yes. The legislation imposes strict liability on dog owners for injuries inflicted by their dogs. It is not necessary to establish foreseeability, or fault/negligence, in the manner that is usually required for successful personal injuries claims in Ireland. However, the issue which arises most regularly in cases such as this is whether the owner has the funds to satisfy a judgment which might be made against them – ie in legal terms, whether the person is a ‘mark for costs.’  Generally speaking, dog attacks  are often covered by the terms of the owner’s home insurance, or pet insurance policy, however.

  • I was collecting my own dog from Doggy Day Care when another dog attacked me. The dog didn’t actually bite me but I was knocked to the ground and broke my wrist. Do I have grounds for a claim for compensation?

    Yes. A claim for compensation would be made against the dog’s owner and potentially against the owner of the Doggy Day care centre, depending on the circumstances, or arrangements in place. The fact that the dog is not with the owner at the time of the attack does not necessarily exclude the owner from liability, or responsibility for injuries sustained.

  • Will I be responsible for my dog even if my dog isn’t under my own control?

    Generally speaking, yes. Accordingly, as with the scenario above, if you are making arrangements for your dog to attend at Doggy Day Care, or for a kennels while on holiday, I would suggest that you seek indemnity against any claims for compensation which might arise while your dog is not under control.

  • How long do I have to make a claim for compensation?

    Generally speaking, an application should be lodged with the Personal Injuries Resolution Board (PIRB) within two years of the date of injury- the timeframe is extended for minors and for people who lack capacity, in the usual course. The application should be accompanied by a report from your doctor detailing your injuries, condition and prognosis.

  • How much compensation will I receive?

    It is impossible to answer this question as compensation will be decided on a case by case basis, in accordance with the PI Guidelines. A claim for compensation will include compensation for pain and reimbursement of all reasonably incurred out of pocket expenses.

If you have suffered injuries due to a dog attack, contact Brigid to discuss your concerns. Brigid O’Donnell Solicitor is a native of Cashel, Tipperary. She established Brigid O’Donnell Solicitors, with offices in Clonmel, Tipperary and Cork city in August 2023. She represents clients who have suffered injuries due to accidents, or medical negligence, nationwide. She is happy to facilitate remote consultations or to meet with clients at a time and place convenient to you, outside of office hours if required.

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2024-06-27T14:49:14+00:00
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