News & Info

What to Do If You Are Injured by a Dog Bite

Making a personal injury claim for a dog bite can be complex, so speaking with a Personal Injury Solicitor as soon as possible is vital.

There have been a number of high-profile dog bites and attacks reported in the media recently.

Research indicates that dog bite incidence and severity have increased significantly over the past 12 years. A study published in the Irish Medical Journal in December 2023 showed the rate of dog attacks increased significantly between 2012 and 2022, from 5.6 per 100,000 of the population in 2012 to 8.7 per 100,000 in 2021.

It also showed that over half (56.3 per cent) of people hurt in dog attacks had injuries which required general anaesthetic, while 41.7 per cent had plastic surgery carried out due to their injuries.

Cork Society of Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (CSPCA) said they are seeing this trend continuing through 2024., “Unfortunately we are seeing a rise in more severe attacks,” said CSPCA manager Vincent Cashman while speaking to RTÉ News following a dog attack in June this year.

If you are injured by a dog bite, it’s important to understand your rights and the steps you can take to seek compensation for your injuries.

However, pursuing a personal injury case for a dog bite in Ireland can be complex, particularly because it often hinges on whether the dog owner has adequate insurance coverage.

In Ireland, dog bite injury compensation falls under Section 21 of the Control of Dogs Act 1986. In summary, dog owners are liable for injuries caused by their dogs during an attack.

But one of the biggest challenges in dog bite cases is whether the dog owner has sufficient insurance cover. Many homeowners’ insurance policies include liability coverage for dog bites, but not all dog owners have such insurance.

Without adequate insurance, it may be difficult to recover compensation, especially if the dog owner lacks the financial resources to pay out-of-pocket expenses.

Also, to succeed in a personal injury claim, you must prove that the dog owner was negligent in controlling their dog, which directly resulted in your injuries.

Evidence such as witness statements, previous complaints about the dog, or the owner’s failure to comply with local dog control laws can support your case.

Dogs that are on the restricted breeds list may be subject to stricter control regulations. If the dog that bit you belongs to a restricted breed, the owner’s failure to comply with these regulations can strengthen your claim.

Tips on what to do if you’ve been involved in a dog attack.

Seek medical attention: Your health and safety are the top priority. Even if the bite appears minor, it’s crucial to get medical attention immediately. Dog bites can cause serious infections, so they need to be properly cleaned and the wound treated.

Identify the dog and its owner: If possible, try to gather information about the dog and its owner. This includes the owner’s name, address, and contact details. If there were witnesses, get their contact information as well.

Report the incident: Contact the local Garda station to report the dog bite. This creates an official record of the incident, which can be vital if you decide to pursue a claim.

Document the attack: Take photographs of your injuries, the location of the incident, and the dog, if it is safe to do so. Keep records of any medical treatments and expenses related to the bite.

Consult with a Personal Injury Solicitor: Given the complexities involved in dog bite cases, consulting with an experienced personal injury solicitor is crucial. They can help you determine the viability of your claim, navigate the legal process for you, gather necessary evidence, and represent you in court if necessary.

If your solicitor believes you have a case, they will assist you in filing a personal injury claim against the dog owner. This includes submitting detailed evidence of your injuries, medical expenses, and proof of the owner’s negligence. Your solicitor will work to achieve a fair settlement that covers your medical costs, lost wages, and any other damages you have incurred.

For more information, visit our dog bite injury claim page or contact us for a confidential discussion.