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Compensation for Dog Attack Injuries - Your Rights

31 Aug 2016

Unlike other public liability claims, in most cases your personal health insurance will cover any medical expenses incurred resulting from injuries sustained from the dog attack. Additionally, the dog owner’s home and contents insurer will generally cover the owner, paying the compensation for any damage that may have been caused as a result of the attack. Should either party’s insurance fail to cover the compensation needed to cover damages, there may be grounds to claim awards directly from the owner of the dog.

The Law

The laws surrounding dog attacks in QLD can be quite complicated and it is therefore recommended that you speak to a qualified personal injury lawyer who can advise you on your particular situation.

Basically, for you to be successful in your claim you or your lawyer must:

  1. Prove that the dog owner owed you a duty of care and;
  2. they failed to uphold this duty of care, such as by leaving a gate open, and that;
  3. you suffered physical or mental damages as a result of the dog attacking.

It is important to note that a dog doesn’t necessarily have to bite you to cause injury. A dog rushing aggressively which causes you to fall from a bike or horse causing injury may also be sufficient grounds to make a claim.

According to the Dog Act 1976, compensation can be claimed for damages including:

  • Physical or mental pain and suffering.
  • Loss of enjoyment of life both past and present.
  • Past and future loss of earnings.
  • Past and future hospital or medical expenses.
  • Home help or nursing provided by anyone whether paid or not.

Also important to note is that a compensation claim would not apply if you were unlawfully on the property where the dog is normally kept, or if you or another person (other than the dog’s owner) were intentionally provoking or aggravating the dog.

What To Do if a Dog Attacks You

If you have been attacked by a dog it can be extremely upsetting and traumatic, and your first priority should be seeking medical attention for any injuries you may have received. A doctor will also help you to understand the impact your injuries may have on your enjoyment of life and future capacity to work. It is also important at this time that you document the incidence and take photos of all injuries, even small cuts or bruises.

Your next step should be engaging an experienced personal injury lawyer like GC Law. We’ll walk you through the process in plain english and ensure you understand your position and what your rights you have to claim compensation.

When making a dog attack injury claim there are also strict time limits that apply. Under Personal Injury Law the time limit is generally three years from the date of the incident, however time limits may vary and can be much shorter for certain claims, making it crucial that you speak to a lawyer as soon as possible following the incident.