Dog bite incidents are on the rise and typically involve guard dog breeds. Events like these cannot be predicted, but do happen. It is important to know how you as an individual could be compensated in the case of a dog attack.
Many owners fail to train their dogs correctly, or at all, and some train their dogs to attack and fight. The World Health Organisation estimates that thousands of injuries due to dog bites happen every year.
There are a large number of dog bites recorded every year, and being the victim of an animal attack can be quite traumatic. Not only can you be injured physically, but can be left with psychological scars for the rest of your life.
In many cases, a person bitten by a dog may have the Legal Right to recover damages and it’s possible that you can claim dog bite compensation:
- Past and future medical and hospital expenses
- Past and future loss of earnings
- Damages for pain and suffering
- Disfigurement & scaring
Tips for dealing with the situation
Quantification of Damages
If you decide to claim from the Personal Liability Insurance of the dog owner, you will need to prove ownership of the dog.
If claiming directly from the owner, consulting with personal injury lawyers specializing in dog bite cases will help you to navigate the legalities of proving your case. If the injury is serious enough, the owner may be liable to cover your medical expenses, should you wish to pursue the matter in court.
If the value of your claim is below R10,000, you should approach lawyers who specialize in small claims. You will also need to have the medical documents detailing the injuries as well as the invoices.
If the injuries are serious and you are likely to lose past and future income as a result of the dog bite, you need to inform your lawyer and furnish him/her with documents to prove your loss of income.
I.e. If you are a professional football player, and the dog bite severed a tendon, you will need Medico-Legal Doctors and Football Coaches/medical staff to testify that you will be unable to play football as a result of the dog bite.
Sometimes the dog bite or attack is serious and permanent scarring is clearly visible. This class will be summons in court against the owner of the dog and he must inform his Personal Liability Insurance of the forthcoming claim against him.
When attacked or bitten, you should...
- The first thing to do when attacked by a dog is to secure yourself and your family away from the dog.
- Stop and assess if the injuries are serious. If the damage is life-threatening, go to the nearest Hospital immediately or call the emergency services.
- Let doctors assess the wound more thoroughly. They will act accordingly.
- Make sure to clean the wound properly with disinfectant. Even in the case of a small bite from a dog, you should go to a doctor for anti-biotics and a tetanus injection.
- It is recommended that you speak to the owner of the dog and find out if the dog has had its rabies vaccination.
- Once the injured person has been stabilized, contact the local animal authorities and/or police to report the incident.
- Contact us immediately for Expert Advise and further guidelines.
Photograph your injuries
Take photos of your injuries, even if you need to unwrap gauze. Confer with a doctor or nurse as needed. They will tell you a safe manner in which to do so. It is also recommended that you photograph all of your wounds, including bruises, as well as all torn, bloody clothing and the location of the attack.