Dog bite compensation claims
If you or a loved one has been bitten by a dog, we can help you make a dog bite claim for personal injury compensation
How Much Could You Claim?

Dog Bite Compensation Claims

Being bitten by a dog can be terrifying and leave you with severe physical and psychological trauma. The number of dog-related hospital attendances increased from 4,699 in 2007 to 8,819 in 2021-2022. There has also been an increase in fatal dog attacks from an average of three per year to 10 in 2022, of which four victims were children.

Some of the injuries caused by dog bites include puncture wounds, lacerations, avulsions, fractures and emotional trauma. If you suffered injuries through no fault of your own, you might be eligible to claim dog bite compensation.

To find out if you can start a dog bite claim within minutes, call 0800 032 3660 or request a call back for a free consultation with a legal adviser. Otherwise, keep reading the guide below to learn more about the claims process and how much compensation you could receive for your injuries.

Am I eligible to claim dog bite compensation?

Being bitten by a dog is a horrible and traumatic experience and can have severe and long-lasting physical and emotional consequences. If you were the victim of a dog attack without being at fault, you might be eligible to make a dog bite claim for compensation.

As a general rule, a personal injury solicitor would help you claim dog bite compensation on a no win no fee* basis if they can show that:

  • Another party or entity owed you a duty of care
  • They breached their duty by not taking proper care to prevent a dog attack from happening
  • Their dog bit you through no fault of your own
  • The bite has caused you physical or psychological injuries
  • The attack took place within the last three years

Some common scenarios that could lead to a valid dog bite injury claim include the following:

  • Being bitten in a public area, such as a park or pavement, without doing anything wrong;
  • A dog bit you while working as a vet or pet groomer;
  • You were attacked while entering private property to deliver mail or a package;
  • If a dog escapes from their home and attacks you on your property or in a public place;
  • If a dog bites a child, the owner may be held strictly liable for any injuries, as children are often less able to defend themselves or
  • understand the risks associated with dogs;
  • If you were lawfully allowed on someone’s property and were bitten by their dog;
  • The dog owner has failed to restrain or control their dog properly in public;
  • If someone uses their dog to cause you injuries on purpose, such as encouraging it to attack.

Consulting with a solicitor with experience in dog bite claims will help you understand the specific requirements and legal options available to you based on your situation.

What should I do if I was bitten by a dog?

If a dog has bitten you, it is essential to take certain steps to ensure you have all the evidence you need if you later decide to pursue compensation for your injuries:

Ensure your safety

If you are still in the presence of the dog, try to move to a safe location as quickly as possible and separate yourself from the dog to prevent further harm.

Seek medical attention

Dog bites can lead to infections and other complications. Clean the wound gently with mild soap and warm running water for at least two minutes, and cover it with a clean cloth or bandage to help control bleeding and reduce the risk of infection. It is crucial to seek immediate medical attention, particularly if the dog bite wound is deep, heavily bleeding, or showing signs of infection. Prompt medical care is essential to ensure proper treatment and help to prevent or minimise any potential complications.

Identify the dog and its owner

If possible, obtain information about the dog and its owner, such as their name, contact details, and the dog’s breed or description. This information will be essential for any future personal injury claim.

Report the incident

Contact the local animal control or the police to report the dog bite incident. They can guide you on the necessary steps and may need to investigate the incident to ensure public safety. A police report and reference number are essential if you want to seek compensation through the CICA if the dog’s owner cannot be located or you were bitten by a stray dog.

Document the incident

Take photographs of your injuries to document the severity and extent of the dog bite. This documentation can be valuable to support your claim if you decide to make a personal injury claim against the owner of the dog. Other helpful evidence may include the following:

  • Photographs of the injury as it is recovering
  • Any pieces of clothing you were wearing at the time of the attack
  • Photos of the dog and the location of the attack
  • An accident report with the local council, your employer or the owner of a private property, depending on your circumstances
  • A written account of the incident and how it has affected your life
  • Names and contact details of witnesses, if there were any
  • A formal medical record from the doctor or hospital that treated you
  • A copy of CCTV footage if any security cameras are coving the area
  • Keep all the receipts and other documents related to financial losses and expenses

Consult with a legal professional

If you have suffered significant injuries or believe the dog owner may be liable for the incident, you should consult with a personal injury lawyer experienced in dog bite cases. They can assess your situation, provide legal advice, and guide you through the process of claiming dog bite compensation.

The Dangerous Dogs Act 1991

The Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 is a piece of legislation in the UK that was introduced to address concerns related to dog attacks and the control of certain breeds. It was enacted in response to several high-profile incidents involving dog attacks, particularly concerning breeds perceived as dangerous or aggressive.

The Act prohibits the ownership, breeding, sale, and exchange of four specific breeds of dogs:

  • Pit Bull Terrier
  • Japanese Tosa
  • Dogo Argentino
  • Fila Brasileiro

The Act empowers the police and local authorities to issue control orders on dogs that are believed to be dangerous or have exhibited aggressive behaviour. These may require the dog to be muzzled, kept on a leash, or kept in secure and appropriate conditions. Certain breeds of dogs must also be microchipped, registered, and insured. That helps in identifying and tracking ownership of potentially dangerous dogs.

This legislation outlines charges related to dog attacks, including allowing a dog to be dangerously out of control in a public place or on private property. Penalties for offences under the Dangerous Dogs Act can include fines, imprisonment, and even putting down the dog in some cases.

If you were attacked by any of the breeds listed above or a crossbreed between them, you likely have a strong claim for dog bite compensation. However, a bite from any type of dog can cause serious harm and may result in a personal injury claim.

Common dog bite injuries

Dog bites can result in various injuries, ranging from minor to severe. Some common injuries that could lead to a dog bite claim include the following:

Puncture wounds

Puncture wounds are a common type of injury resulting from dog bites. When a dog bites, its sharp teeth can penetrate the skin and create small, deep holes or punctures. These can vary in depth and severity depending on the size and force of the dog’s bite. They have a higher risk of infection than other types of injuries and can also carry a risk of tetanus.

Lacerations

A dog bite can result in deep cuts or lacerations, especially if the dog shakes its head or applies significant pressure while biting. Lacerations can range from superficial cuts to deep, extensive wounds that may involve damage to underlying tissues, muscles, nerves, or blood vessels. They may require stitches or other forms of medical intervention and could leave permanent scarring.

Tissue damage

A bite can cause damage to underlying tissues, including muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Such injuries include contusions, abrasions, avulsions and crush injuries. That can lead to significant pain, impairment of function, and potential long-term consequences like necrosis, nerve damage and disfigurement.

Infections

Dog bites can introduce bacteria into the wound, increasing the risk of infection. Common infections associated with dog bites include cellulitis, abscesses, and potentially serious conditions such as sepsis or rabies.

Nerve damage

Depending on the location and severity of the bite, nerves may be injured. Nerve damage can result in pain, numbness, tingling, or even paralysis in the affected area. Rehabilitation exercises and techniques can help improve muscle strength, coordination, and mobility, but the damage may be permanent in some cases.

Fractures and broken bones

When the victim is a child or if the dog attack involves significant force, dog bites can lead to fractures or broken bones. Some common sites of fractures from dog bites include the hands, fingers, arms, legs and face. These injuries may require surgical intervention for proper healing and can have permanent consequences like chronic pain, limited mobility and disfigurement.

Emotional and psychological trauma

Dog attacks can have lasting emotional and psychological effects on the victim, including anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and a fear of dogs or other animals.

No matter the type and severity of your injuries, if a dog attacked you due to someone else’s negligence, you might be entitled to compensation for your pain and suffering. To find out if you have a valid dog bite injury claim, use our online claim form or call 0800 032 3660 today to speak to an experienced solicitor.

Can I claim compensation for a dog bite on private property?

Depending on the circumstances, you may be able to claim dog bite compensation if you were injured on private property. Dog owners are legally responsible for ensuring the safety of others who enter their property. If they fail to fulfil this duty and their dog bites or attacks someone, they may be held liable for the resulting injuries.

There are several situations in which you may have been bitten by a dog on private property:

  • If the property is freely accessible and there are no warning signs, the owner will likely be held liable to pay compensation for a dog bite;
  • If the property is partially enclosed, but you can open it from the outside, and there is a warning sign, you could still be able to claim. However, you are also partially at fault for ignoring the warning, so your compensation award might be reduced due to contributory negligence;
  • If the property is completely enclosed and there is a warning sign, but you still entered, the owner would likely not be liable for your injuries, as they took all precautions to keep you safe from harm. In some cases, warning signs may not be valid if they are not clearly visible or present at all possible entrances.

If you suffered a dog bite on private property, you should consult with a personal injury solicitor. They can assess the circumstances of your case, guide you through the legal process, and help determine the viability of a dog bite compensation claim.

Can I make a claim for a dog bite or dog attack that has caused the death of a loved one

Experiencing the loss of a loved one due to a dog attack is naturally a tragic and devastating situation. Although we seem to hear about such incidents more and more, it is still a relatively rare occurrence. Between 2001 and 2021, there have been 69 registered dog-related deaths in England and Wales. In such cases, it may be possible to make a dog bite claim for the wrongful death caused by the attack.

Under the Fatal Accidents Act 1976, any dependant of the deceased could claim for financial and loss of service dependency, including:

  • Their spouse or former spouse
  • A partner living in the same household for at least two years
  • Parents and someone treated as a parent
  • Blood children and other descendants
  • Anyone treated as a child by the deceased
  • A brother, sister, aunt or uncle

A claim for financial dependency considers the deceased’s lost income, including bonuses, investments, lost pensions and other alternative income. You could also claim for the loss of services provided by your loved one, such as childcare, household chores and DIY projects.

It is also possible to claim compensation for funeral expenses and the financial losses incurred between the dog attack and the date of death, such as lost earnings and medical costs. In the UK, a limited number of dependants can also claim a bereavement award of £15,120, which aims to compensate for the grief and suffering caused by the loss.

Can I make a dog bite claim if I was attacked by a stray dog?

Claiming compensation for a dog bite inflicted by a stray dog can be challenging and more complicated than a situation where the dog has a known owner, but it may still be possible. If the owner can be found through a microchip or other identification, this would make it easier. You may be able to pursue a claim against them for their negligence in allowing their dog to roam freely.

If the dog cannot be traced to an owner, starting a dog bite injury claim may be possible based on premises liability. Those in charge of the area where you were attacked may be liable for compensation, whether it is the local council or a private owner.

Ultimately, you could alternatively claim through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA), as a dog bite from a stray could be classed as a criminal injury. The CICA is a government-funded organisation in the UK that provides compensation to innocent victims who have suffered injuries as a result of violent crimes.

Its purpose is to provide financial support and assistance to individuals who have been physically or mentally injured due to a criminal act. Claiming through the CICA may result in less compensation being awarded than in a civil case.

Can I make a dog bite compensation claim on behalf of my child?

As a parent or legal guardian, you can claim dog bite compensation on behalf of your child. Before appointing you as their litigation friend, the court will verify that:

  • You do not have a conflict of interest with the injured child
  • You can fairly and competently conduct legal proceedings on their behalf
  • You agree to pay any fees involved in the claims process

To succeed in your claim, you will need to establish that someone else’s negligence or wrongful act caused the child’s injury. That may involve gathering evidence, witness statements, medical records, and other relevant documentation to support your case. As their litigation friend, you will have several other responsibilities, including:

  • Acting in the child’s best interests
  • Taking decisions about the claim
  • Considering any settlement offers from the defendant
  • Instruct your solicitor and take legal advice
  • Deal with correspondence

In some cases, if the proposed settlement amount is significant, you may need to go through an Infant Approval Hearing before a judge. They will consider the evidence to ensure the dog bite compensation awarded is fair and safeguards the child’s future needs.

Dog bite compensation calculator – How much compensation can I claim?

Every claim is unique, and the amount of dog bite compensation awarded to claimants depends on the nature and severity of the injuries sustained and any related financial losses and expenses. Your solicitor will consider in detail how the trauma has affected your life and ensure you are fully compensated for everything you have been through.

Compensation in personal injury claims covers two different aspects:

General damages are awarded for the physical injury and its consequences and might include:

  • Physical pain and suffering
  • Scarring and disfigurement
  • Emotional and psychological trauma
  • Mental and physical disability
  • Loss of ability to engage in a hobby or social event
  • Loss of a unique career
  • Reduced life quality
  • Loss of consortium or companionship

Special damages include all the financial losses and expenses related to the dog bite injury, such as:

  • Medical fees for hospital stays and interventions
  • Care and assistance during recovery or if you suffered a permanent disability
  • Loss of earnings and reduced earning capacity
  • Rehabilitation, physical therapy and counselling
  • Travel expenses to go to medical appointments
  • Adaptations to your home or vehicle
  • Any other reasonable costs associated with the dog bite injury

Special damages are more straightforward to calculate and are based on physical evidence such as receipts, invoices and bank statements. General damages are a bit harder to estimate as they are based on subjective losses such as pain and suffering. Courts and solicitors typically refer to similar cases and the guidelines published each year by the Judicial College, according to which you could receive:

  • £1,710 to £3,530 for minor facial scarring with no lasting psychological impact
  • £17,960 to £48,420 for facial disfigurement causing significant psychological trauma
  • £29,780 to £97,330 for very severe facial disfigurement and psychiatric damage
  • £5,060 to £10,725 for moderate hand injuries with some long-lasting effects
  • £24,430 to £50,050 for severe hand injuries causing permanent disability and disfigurement
  • £9,845 to £15,125 for partial to complete loss of an index finger
  • £28,710 to £44,330 for loss of a thumb
  • £6,680 to £19,390 for severe laceration scars to the legs
  • £43,710 to £67,410 for very severe leg injuries leading to permanent disability

For more examples of compensation awards, you can refer to our compensation calculator or call 0800 032 3660 for a free consultation with a legal adviser.

Who pays the dog bite injury compensation?

In dog bite claims, the responsibility for paying compensation typically lies with the dog owner or their insurance company. Dog owners are generally liable for injuries caused by their dogs, especially if the incident occurred due to their negligence or failure to control their pets. If they do not have pet insurance, their home insurance could potentially cover your damages.

Other third parties may be liable for dog bite compensation, depending on the circumstances of the attack. For example:

  • If a stray dog bit you or the pet owner cannot be identified, you could claim compensation through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA). You could also make a CICA claim if an owner provokes their dog to hurt you on purpose.
  • Your employer may be liable for damages if you were injured at work. A number of jobs are at increased risk of being attacked by a dog, including postal workers, couriers, care workers, emergency service providers and repair workers.
  • If a dog attacked you in a public place, such as a business park, the person or company responsible for the premises could be liable for compensation under the Occupiers’ Liability Act 1957.

Your solicitor will be able to assess liability and determine who will be the defendant in your dog bite compensation claim.

Time limits to start a dog bite compensation claim

In the UK, there is a general three-year limit to claim compensation for a dog bite, starting from the date of the attack. You should take steps to start your claim as soon as possible, as your solicitor will need time to gather evidence for your case and begin legal proceedings. After three years, your case becomes statute-barred, which means you would lose your legal right to personal injury compensation.

Under the Limitation Act 1980, there are a few exceptions to the three-year limitation date:

  • With child accident claims, you have until their 18th birthday to start proceedings, regardless of when they were bitten. Alternatively, they will have until they are 21 years old to make a claim on their own.
  • There is no time limit to seek damages for someone who lacks mental capacity as their litigation friend. The three-year period would only start to run if they regained their mental capacity at some point.
  • The time limit is reduced to two years if you are claiming through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA).
  • If you were injured by a dog abroad, the time limit might depend on the foreign country’s laws and differ from the standard three-year limitation period in the UK.
  • If a loved one has passed away due to a dog attack, you have three years to claim dog bite compensation from the date of their death.

Whether you are claiming for yourself or someone else, it is always better to speak to a solicitor while the events are fresh in your mind. That will ensure you and any witnesses remember crucial details about the incident and make it easier to gather supporting evidence.

Start a No Win No Fee dog bite injury claim

If you have been bitten by a dog, you might want to make a compensation claim for the pain and emotional trauma it has caused you, as well as any related financial losses and expenses. However, many people worry about hiring a solicitor to start a dog bite injury claim, fearing they might be left out of pocket if their claim is unsuccessful.

No Win No Fee was introduced in 1995 to allow everyone the opportunity to seek compensation in a personal injury claim, regardless of their financial situation. If your case has merit, the solicitors we partner with will offer you a No Win No Fee agreement, which means:

  • You can claim dog bite compensation regardless of your financial situation;
  • You do not have to pay any upfront fees to get legal representation;
  • You only pay a success fee to your solicitor if your case is successful. The success fee will be deducted from your compensation award and cannot exceed 25% of general damages and past financial losses;
  • If your claim is unsuccessful, you will not incur any out-of-pocket expenses.

As part of the No Win No Fee agreement, your solicitor will also take out After the Event (ATE) insurance on your behalf. ATE insurance offers protection for the legal expenses that you would be liable for if your claim is unsuccessful, such as:

  • The defendant’s solicitor fees and expenses
  • Court and counsel fees
  • Police and medical reports
  • The cost of hiring expert witnesses
  • Travel expenses related to the case
  • Barrister fees if the claim goes to court

The cost of the ATE premium depends on the specific details of the case, and you only have to pay for it if you win the dog bite compensation claim.

If you believe you may have valid grounds to claim compensation for a dog bite, enter your details into our online claim form or call 0800 032 3660 to speak to a legal adviser. You will be provided with a free consultation without any obligation to proceed.

* Personal injury claims are offered on a no win, no fee basis. If your claim is successful, your solicitor will receive up to 25% of your compensation as their success fee. Any additional costs, such as legal protection insurance, will be clearly explained to you by your solicitor before you decide to proceed with your claim. Termination fees may apply if you fail to cooperate with your solicitor. This includes deliberately misleading your solicitor, failing to attend scheduled medical or expert examinations, or not appearing at a required court hearing.