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Can Dog Bite Injuries lead to Personal Injury Claims?

Can Dog Bite Injuries lead to Personal Injury Claims?

Dog bite injuries can be traumatic and often result in significant physical and emotional consequences. Such incidents can lead to severe injuries and sometimes even fatalities. In addition to the immediate physical harm, dog bite injuries can also give rise to complex legal issues, particularly concerning personal injury claims. Understanding the causes, consequences, and legal aspects of dog bite injuries is crucial for both victims and those potentially liable.


Causes of Dog Bite Injuries

Dog bite injuries can occur due to various reasons, including:

Provocation: Dogs may bite in response to feeling threatened, provoked, or scared. Actions such as teasing, cornering, or mishandling an animal can trigger defensive behaviours.

Lack of Training or Socialisation: Dogs that have not been adequately trained or socialised may exhibit aggressive behaviours towards humans or other animals.

Negligent Ownership: Irresponsible pet ownership, such as failing to properly restrain or control a dog, can increase the risk of bites. Neglecting to provide necessary vaccinations or medical care can also contribute to dangerous situations.

Animal Instincts: Even well-trained pets can sometimes act on their natural instincts, especially in stressful situations. Certain breeds may have a higher propensity for aggressive behaviour, although individual temperament varies widely.


Consequences of Dog Bite Injuries

The consequences of Dog bite injuries can be severe and wide-ranging, including:

Physical Injuries: Dog bites can cause puncture wounds, lacerations, fractures, and tissue damage. In severe cases, they may result in permanent disfigurement, nerve damage, or loss of limb function.

Infections: Dog bites can introduce bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens into the body, leading to infections such as rabies, tetanus, and bacterial cellulitis. Prompt medical attention, including cleaning the wound and administering antibiotics, is crucial to prevent complications.

Psychological Trauma: Being bitten by a dog can be a deeply traumatic experience, particularly for children. Victims may develop anxiety, phobias, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as a result of the incident.

Financial Burden: Medical treatment for dog bite injuries can be costly, especially if extensive surgery or rehabilitation is required. Additionally, victims may incur expenses related to lost wages, therapy, and long-term care.


When can Personal Injury Claims be made as a result of a dog bite injury?

When someone is injured by a dog bite, they may be entitled to pursue a personal injury claim against the owner or another responsible party. Key considerations in such claims include:

Liability: Claims can be brought under The Animals Act 1971 which allows people to make a civil claim following a dog attack. The act imposes “strict liability” on the owner of a dog for it's actions. This essentially means that the owner can be held responsible for an injury caused by their dog regardless of whether or not they themselves are at fault.

Negligence: If the owner failed to take reasonable precautions to prevent the animal from causing harm, such as not properly restraining a known aggressive dog, they may be found negligent and held liable for resulting injuries.

Defences: Owners may attempt to defend against liability by arguing that the victim provoked the animal, trespassed on their property, or assumed the risk of injury. However, these defences may not absolve the owner of liability in all circumstances.

Damages: Victims of dog bite injuries may be entitled to compensation for various damages, including medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and emotional distress. The value of a claim depends on the severity of the injuries and the individual circumstances of the case.


Case Study

Sarah Sadler, Head of Personal Injury at Banner Jones Solicitors, is currently dealing with a claim involving a 3 year old child (“C”) that was molested by a dog whilst visiting a public house. The owner of the dog, a member of staff, negligently failed to take reasonable precautions to keep their dog away from visitors of the public house. The dog, that was being kept in an unlocked side room, attacked C as they entered the room unsupervised. This caused C to sustain a fractured eye socket and the need for 100 stitches to their face leaving noticeable, permanent facial scarring. In addition to their physical injuries, C was psychologically traumatised by the incident and had to undergo a course of Psychological therapy as a result.

The claim is ongoing and cannot be settled until C has reached adolescence . We expect to recover damages in the region of £70,000.00 on behalf of C.


Dog bite injuries can have serious physical, emotional, and financial consequences for victims. Understanding the causes and consequences of these incidents, as well as the legal principles governing personal injury claims, is essential for protecting the rights of those affected. By holding negligent owners accountable and obtaining fair compensation for their injuries, victims can begin the process of healing and recovery.

If you’d like to speak with a Personal Injury expert, please contact us now or email


Sarah Sadler
  • Chartered Legal Executive
  • Head of Personal Injury

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