It is left upon all owners of pet animals to take precautionary steps in order to ensure public safety. Individuals whose injury, damage or loss are a consequence of an animal attack retain the right to pursue a compensation claim.
Types of animal-inflicted injuries that qualify one for a claim
The list of animal-inflicted injuries that qualify one for a compensation claim includes but is not limited to:
- Abrasions and cuts
- Bites and scars
- Infections — including the infections of bones
- Injuries to the soft and muscular tissues
- Psychological trauma
Obtaining proof of the existence of one or more items from this list enables the victim to pursue legal action against the animal owner.
The process of filing a compensation claim
Aside from receiving the necessary medical treatment, the animal attack victim should do the following:
- Obtain the animal owner’s contact and insurance details.
- Report the incident to the Gardai, especially if the incident involved a large canine without a muzzle.
- Obtain the photographs and CCTV footage of the area when possible.
- Provide a detailed account of the incident, preferably in writing.
Having obtained the aforementioned, the victim should promptly visit a solicitor for a consultation regarding the viability of the claim.
Owner liability in animal attacks involving canines
Under the Control of Dogs Act from 1986, a dog’s owner is liable to pay compensation for the damages caused by the canine attacking and injuring a person. In fact, the claimant will not be required to prove the dog was prone to attacking people in the past.
Therefore, providing the account of the incident, as well as irrefutable evidence of injury, will be sufficient for the victim to pursue legal action. However, exceptions to the rule may apply if the canine involved is a police or a guard dog.
Most dog and animal attack claims are covered by the homeowners’ insurance. In fact, in the greatest number of cases, it is not the dog owner who has to deal with paying the compensation. However, if the dog owner does not have home insurance, the claimant will be forced to pursue the owner personally.
Settling a compensation claim case
It is of the utmost importance that the victim seeks legal advice before pursuing any sort of legal action. It is not possible for the victim to arbitrarily determine the amount of compensation for an animal attack, as that will depend on a number of factors. Namely, the severity and the effects of the injury, as well as the existence of psychological trauma, will be taken into account at court.