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Animal injury compensation claims

If you have been injured by an animal and somebody else is to blame, you could be eligible to make an animal injury compensation claim.

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Animal Injury Claims

Many people interact with animals daily. Whether you encounter dogs on the street, go horseback riding, work on a farm or visit a safari park or zoo, this is typically a pleasant and joyful experience. However, animals can also show aggressive behaviour, especially when scared or surprised. Such incidents or attacks can cause various injuries, ranging from minor bites and bruises to severe lacerations and head trauma.

If you or a loved one had an accident involving animals due to someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to make a claim for any resulting injuries. You could get compensation for your pain and suffering, as well as related financial losses and expenses.

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Speak to a legal advisor, today!

Friendly legal advisors are available to discuss your animal injury claim today.

  • Find out if you have a valid claim
  • A risk free, no win no fee* service
  • We are available 7 days a week
  • Experienced personal injury lawyers

Types of accidents caused by animals

While animals are typically friendly, dogs, cattle, horses, sheep and other livestock can also become aggressive and cause injuries. If owners do not take proper steps and precautions to prevent members of the public from being attacked by their animals, they may be liable for any resulting damages. The most common situations that can result in an animal injury compensation claim include:

  • Bites, scratches, and other forms of physical aggression from dogs or other animals;
  • Road traffic accidents caused by livestock or wildlife that run onto roads, causing collisions with vehicles;
  • Trampling by large animals like cattle or horses, resulting in severe harm;
  • Kicks from horses, cows, and other livestock that may feel threatened or startled;
  • Allergic reactions to animal dander, saliva, or venom, leading to symptoms ranging from mild irritation to life-threatening anaphylaxis;
  • Accidents at horse riding facilities, such as being thrown from a horse;
  • Accidents at farms and stables, including to employees;
  • Injuries caused by animals at zoos, wildlife parks or on safari;
  • Illnesses contracted from an animal, such as rabies or bacterial infections.

If you suffered any harm or injury as a result of being attacked by an animal, you may be entitled to compensation. To find out if you have a valid claim, do not hesitate to speak to a personal injury solicitor as soon as possible by calling 0800 678 1410.

What injuries can an animal attack cause?

An animal attack can cause a range of injuries, varying from minor to severe. Their type and severity will depend on factors such as the type of animal, its size and strength, the attack’s duration, and the affected body part. Common injuries that can result in an animal attack claim include:

  • Puncture wounds, lacerations and torn skin due to animal bites;
  • Cuts, abrasions and scratches that can become infected if the wounds are not properly cleaned and treated;
  • Soft tissue injuries such as bruises, contusions and damage to muscles, tendons and ligaments due to kicks or crushes;
  • Fractures and dislocations can be due to blunt trauma or the force of an animal’s bite;
  • Head injuries, such as concussions, traumatic brain injuries, facial fractures and eye injuries;
  • Back and neck injuries that can range from mild sprains and strains to severe fractures and spinal cord trauma;
  • Traumatic amputations or partial loss of limbs, fingers or toes;
  • Nerve damage, causing pain, numbness, tingling, weakness, or loss of function in the affected area;
  • Infections from bites or scratches that introduce bacteria, viruses, or parasites into the body, such as cellulitis, abscesses, tetanus, rabies, or sepsis;
  • Scarring and disfigurement from deep lacerations or puncture wounds;
  • Psychological trauma, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues;
  • In extreme cases, animal attacks can result in fatal injuries.

Am I eligible to make an animal injury claim?

If you were attacked by an animal and suffered injuries, you may be entitled to claim compensation. To find out if you have a valid animal injury claim, call 0800 678 1410 for a free consultation with a friendly legal adviser. Before taking on your case, they will ask you a few questions to determine whether:

  • Another party owed you a duty of care;
  • They breached this duty by acting negligently;
  • You were injured by an animal due to their negligence.

Based on the circumstances of your accident, a legal duty will be established based on any of the following laws or other relevant legislation:

Once liability is established, your solicitor will inform the defendant of your intentions to claim animal injury compensation and help you gather the necessary evidence to build a strong case.

What evidence do I need to make a claim if I am injured by an animal?

The types of evidence your solicitor may need to get the compensation you deserve include:

  • Photographs of your injuries and the damage to your clothes and other personal items;
  • Photos taken regularly throughout your recovery process;
  • Photographs of the location where the attack occurred, showing any relevant details such as a broken fence or lack of warning signs;
  • Medical records that detail the type of injury you suffered, its severity and the treatments you received;
  • Statements from medical experts about the extent of your injuries and their long-term effects;
  • Statements from individuals who witnessed the attack, describing what they saw and heard;
  • An official report filed with animal control or the police detailing the attack;
  • Records from the vet showing the animal’s vaccination history, any known aggressive behaviour, or previous attacks;
  • The name and contact details of the animal’s owner;
  • Video footage from nearby surveillance cameras that may have captured the attack and can provide a clear view of the events;
  • Your account of the attack and its impact on your daily life;
  • You also need documents to prove any related financial losses or expenses, such as payslips, receipts or invoices.

Who is responsible for an injury caused by an animal?

Liability for compensation in an animal injury claim can fall on several parties, depending on the circumstances of the attack. This includes the following:

  • The animal owner. The primary responsibility usually rests with the owner of the animal. Owners are expected to control their pets and prevent them from causing harm to others. If they fail to do so, you can make a claim against them, which will usually be covered through their pet or home insurance.
  • The animal keeper. Individuals who are temporarily responsible for the animal, such as pet sitters or dog walkers, may also be held liable if the injury occurred while the animal was under their care.
  • A property owner or occupier. If you were injured at a zoo, farm, or on someone’s property, the owner or occupier of the premises will be responsible for the attack.
  • The Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA). The CICA is an alternative route to recover animal injury compensation. You may be eligible to claim through the CICA if you were bitten by a stray dog, if the dog owner is unknown or if someone set their dog upon you deliberately, using it as a weapon.
  • Your employer. If you work with animals (for example, you are a farm worker, stable worker or zoo worker), your employer must take all reasonable measures to keep you safe from harm. If they fail to do so and you are injured by an animal, you can make an accident at work claim for compensation.

Can I claim compensation on behalf of a loved one?

If a member of your family was injured by an animal, you may be able to claim compensation on their behalf. This is typically the case when the injured person is under 18 or lacks mental capacity due to a brain injury or condition such as Down syndrome. To make an animal attack claim for a loved one, you must apply to the court to be named as their litigation friend. A personal injury lawyer can help you fill in and file all the necessary documents.

Once appointed, you will act in your loved one’s best interests and have several duties, such as making decisions about settlement offers, attending court hearings and liaising with solicitors. If you win compensation, your solicitor can help you set up a personal injury trust so the money awarded to your loved one will not affect their eligibility for means-tested state benefits.

How long do I have to make an animal injury compensation claim?

If you were attacked by an animal, you typically have three years to make a claim for compensation. Under the Limitation Act 1980, your case will only be accepted if you meet this deadline. Therefore, seeking legal advice as soon as possible is essential. This way, your lawyer will have enough time to gather evidence and build a strong case against the defendant.

There are a few exceptions to this limitation date:

  • The three years only begin to run on a person’s 18th birthday. That means a parent could make a child accident claim on their behalf anytime before that.
  • There is no time limit for a litigation friend to start an animal injury compensation claim on behalf of someone who cannot handle their case due to mental incapacity.
  • You have two years to start a claim through the CICA if you were the victim of a criminal attack.
  • If you lost a loved one due to a severe injury caused by an animal accident, you could start a claim within three years after their death.
  • The time limit to claim if you suffered an injury abroad may depend on the laws of that country and be shorter than three years.

How much compensation will I be able to claim?

The amount of compensation you could claim for being attacked by an animal will depend on the injuries you suffered and how these have affected your life. Your solicitor will accurately value your case to ensure you receive the maximum compensation you are entitled to. They will do this by including two types of damages in your claim:

General damages include the subjective losses caused by the injury, such as physical pain, emotional damage, scarring, disfigurement and loss of amenities (such as the ability to engage in a hobby you used to enjoy). You can look at our compensation calculator to see how much you could receive for your injuries. For example, you could get:

  • Up to £7,380 for moderate scarring that is not on your face
  • £4,780 to £11,330 for moderate damage to the soft tissues of the hand
  • £15,320to £46,780 for severe soft tissue injuries to the legs
  • £2,090to £10,670 for a back injury with recovery within three months and five years

Special damages include financial losses and expenses caused directly by an animal attack, such as lost wages, prescription costs, private treatments, care costs and damage to your personal property. These are calculated based on physical evidence, such as payslips, receipts and invoices.

How long does an animal attack claim take?

As each case is unique, this will depend on several factors, which include:

  • The type and severity of your injuries
  • Whether you know the party responsible for the animal
  • Whether the defendant admits liability
  • How long it takes to gather evidence to support a personal injury claim
  • The duration of settlement negotiations
  • Whether your case goes to court and the court’s backlog

Your solicitor will aim to pursue your animal injury claim as efficiently as possible. If your injury has caused you financial hardship, they will also strive to secure interim payments on your behalf. You can help speed up the process by doing the following:

  • Seek legal advice as soon as possible
  • Work closely with your solicitor and give them all the information they need
  • Attend all your medical appointments
  • Gather as much evidence as possible of your accident and injuries

Will my personal injury solicitor provide a No Win No Fee service?

If you have a valid animal injury compensation claim, your solicitor will handle your case on a no win no fee basis. That means you do not have to pay upfront legal fees, and you can claim without taking any financial risks. Before starting legal proceedings, you will agree on a success fee that your solicitor will receive if they win your claim. This fee will be deducted from your compensation award and cannot exceed 25% of your settlement. If you lose, you do not have to pay them anything.

Your solicitor may also take out After the Event (ATE) insurance on your behalf. This type of insurance policy will cover the expenses incurred during litigation, so you will not be left out of pocket. These include:

  • Court and counsel fees
  • Police and medical reports
  • Paralegal and other staff time
  • Barrister fees if the case goes to court
  • The defendant’s solicitors and other expenses
  • The cost of the ATE premium, which you only pay if you win animal injury compensation
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Speak to a legal advisor, today!

Friendly legal advisors are available to discuss your animal injury claim today.

  • Find out if you have a valid claim
  • A risk free, no win no fee service
  • We are available 7 days a week
  • Experienced personal injury lawyers

*Personal injury claims are provided on a no win no fee basis. If your claim is successful, your solicitor will receive a success fee of up to 25% of your compensation. If any additional costs could be payable, such as taking out legal protection insurance, these would be fully explained upfront by your solicitor before you decide to proceed with your claim. Termination fees may apply based on time spent on your case, or in situations such as: lack of cooperation, deliberately misleading your solicitor, failing to attend scheduled medical or expert examinations, or not appearing at a required court hearing. Please visit our guide to no win no fee claims page for further information.

Nick

Last edited on 17th Jul 2024

With over 15 years in the legal industry, Nicholas Tate has a wealth of knowledge and experience covering all types of personal injury and clinical negligence claims.