Pet attack claims

Introduction

Updated: October 8, 2018

Hospital admissions for dog attack-related injuries have risen by 76% in 10 years, according to Government data. Between March 2014 and February 2015, 7,227 people visited hospital for injuries caused by dog bites and dog attack.

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It is estimated that 46% of households in the UK include one or more pets. Exotic pet bites and attacks are less common, but can be just as injurious. Snakes, tarantulas, lizards and exotic birds can be unpredictable and dangerous, and are often more difficult to domesticate than more common household pets. Exotic pets' bites and stings may also be venomous, resulting in painful and serious or life-threatening injury.

If an individual has been injured by a pet, under certain circumstances, they may be able to claim compensation. Both civil and criminal law, on the issue of animal attacks, is evolving. A solicitor will be able to advise you regarding the likelihood that your claim will be successful.

Claiming pet attacks compensation

If the animal that caused your injury is a pet, you may be able to claim against the owner.

If the injury occurred in the owner's home, you will need to prove that the owner failed in their duty to keep you safe from harm. If the injury occurred in public, you may be able to make a claim for a criminal attack from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme (CICA).

Some owners' pet insurance may cover such attacks, enabling the injured party to receive compensation for their injury even if the owner would not be able to afford to pay the compensation themselves.

Arm injury

Do I have a pet attack claim?

If you were injured in a pet attack in the last three years (longer if children were involved) and someone else was to blame, then we can help you make a compensation claim.

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Farm animal attacks

Domesticated farm animals are generally bred to be docile and although farm animal attacks are not a common source of agricultural injury claims, they have been known to attack humans and, in rare cases, cause fatalities.

Cows, sheep and horses are large and powerful animals. Despite their docility, a typical cow weighs over half a ton and can easily cause injury if stressed. People frequently come in to contact with these animals while walking in the countryside, as many public footpaths pass through farmer's fields.

There are approximately 300,000 farms in the UK, and 9.7 million cattle. According to the Office for National Statistics, approximately five people per year are killed by cows in the UK, with minor injuries occurring more frequently. Common injuries occur when people are butted, gored by horns, trampled upon, kicked, or crushed against walls or fences by farm animals.

According to data published by the University of Liverpool, dog-walkers in proximity to cattle are particularly at risk of injury.

Claiming injury compensation for injuries inflicted by a farm animal

Dangerous livestock should not be kept in areas that the public have access to, including via public footpath. Farmers should also put up warning signs if they think their livestock could pose a danger to the public. If you have been injured by a farm animal on a public footpath, you may be able to make a compensation claim.

If you have been injured by a farm animal at work, you may be able to make a claim against your employer, who has a duty of care to keep you safe from harm. Inadequate training or inadequate Personal Protective Equipment, to prevent injuries while working with farm animals, may be evidence of negligence.

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Wild animal attacks

Wild animals can be very dangerous if they come in to contact with humans. Members of the public may be injured by wild animals in zoos, safari parks and exotic animal houses. Animals may escape or have insufficient cages or guard rails to prevent contact, or following a Health and Safety breach on the part of staff or management.

Wild animals can also attack if humans come in to contact with them in their natural habitat, for example on a safari expedition or while hiking in national parks and nature reserves.

Claims relating to wild animals, whether in captivity or in the wild, are likely to be made against the operators of the park or expedition. The operators are likely to owe a duty of care to protect visitors against foreseeable injuries. They may be required to provide appropriate training or warnings to visitors, and a failure to do so is likely to amount to negligence.

Claiming compensation for wild animal attacks

Safari trips, shark diving experiences and other encounters with wild animals are often organised by tourism companies, who should take the necessary precautions to keep you safe from harm. If they have failed in their duty of care, you may be able to claim against the tour operator based in the UK, through the Package Tour Regulations 1992.

Your solicitor will be able to advise you further on this issue.

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How much compensation can I claim for a pet attack?

The amount of compensation you will receive depends on a number of factors. Our personal injury compensation calculator provides an accurate estimate of your likely compensation.

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Accidents at work - Claims against your employer

Every year, 600,000* employees are injured in accidents at work. If you have suffered an injury or illness at work, you may able to claim compensation.

Find out if you can claim pet attack compensation from your employer: Read more about work accident claims

*Source: 2016/17 Health and Safety Executive (HSE) report

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Meet the QLS team

The nationwide network of Quittance solicitors take on all types of personal injury claims, from less-severe claims to life-changing injuries. Selected because of their track record in winning cases, our lawyers have years of experience handling claims on behalf of injured claimants.

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Kevin Walker Serious Injury Panel Solicitor
Emma Bell Employers and Public Liability Panel Solicitor
Shahida Chaudery Complex Injury Claims Panel Solicitor
Paul Carvis, Personal injury solicitor

About the author

Paul is a member of the Law Society Personal Injury Panel, a member of the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers, and has served as a Deputy District Judge, giving him a uniquely broad understanding of the claims process.

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