Suffered an injury from a dog attack?
What compensation can you receive?
Every dog attack or dog bite case is unique, and the amount of compensation will vary based on the specific circumstances. It is important to obtain legal advice to ensure that your compensation entitlements are met.
The insurer responding to your claim is not required to act in your best interests, so you may miss out on compensation you are entitled to, without the assistance of a lawyer.
Every person is entitled to be compensated for:
- Pain and suffering up to a maximum of approximately $406,000, depending on the year the injury occurred.
- Lost earnings up to the date of resolution of your claim.
- Personal future loss of income up to a maximum of approximately $3.8 million, depending on the year the injury occurred.
- Business loss of income.
- Assistance provided by a family member.
- Future personal care, housework and gardening costs, if required.
- Medical expenses.
So what are your chances of winning your case?
Several factors can influence your chances of winning a dog attack claim. You need to:
- Prove who the owner or keeper of the dog is at the time of the incident. We can assist with obtaining this information.
- Have suffered actual harm or injury as a result of the dog attack.
- Obtain evidence supporting the extent and effect of your injuries.
Our lawyers will assist in obtaining all the necessary evidence and give you advice to build a strong case.
It is important to note that the outcome of each case will depend on its specific circumstances and facts. Consultation with a personal injury lawyer can help determine the best course of action in your specific case.
What fees are involved?
At MKF Lawyers, we operate on a ‘no win, no fee’ basis, so if your claim is unsuccessful you do not pay our legal fees. There’s no cost to reach out and have an initial chat about your case. We work on a no win no fee basis for most personal injury claims occurring in Adelaide. This means that you do not pay our legal fees in the event your claim is not successful. We also usually work on a no win no fee basis for claims relating to motor vehicle accidents, childhood sexual and physical abuse, public liability, medical negligence and total and permanent disability.
How long does the process take? What’s involved?
Factors that can impact the length of time for a dog attack claim to be resolved include:
- Establishing the identity of the dog owner or keeper.
- The time it takes for your injuries to stabilise.
- Obtaining medical evidence regarding the extent and impact of your injuries.
- Obtaining the financial evidence to support the impact of your injuries on your capacity to work.
- The willingness of the parties to engage in settlement negotiations. If the parties involved are able to reach a settlement, the case can be resolved more quickly than if it goes to trial.
We can provide a more specific estimate of the likely time frame for your particular case during our initial discussion with you.
As a rough guide, dog attack claims can take approximately 12 to 18 months to resolve from the time we are engaged.
- Step 1: Have a phone call or in person meeting with you to discuss your case.
- Step 2: Take a statement from you.
- Step 3: Obtain records that prove the registered owner of the dog.
- Step 4: Notify the dog owner/keeper of the claim (and invite that person to provide notification to any insurer).
- Step 5: If the dog owner/keeper is not insured, undertake searches to check that the dog owner/keeper can pay compensation.
- Step 6: Wait for your injuries to reach a point they are not going to get better or worse (stabilised).
- Step 7: Obtain relevant medical records.
- Step 8: Obtain relevant financial records.
- Step 9: Obtain reports from treating doctors and independent doctors regarding your injuries.
- Step 10: Prepare an offer of settlement to commence settlement negotiations.
When can a dog attack claim be made?
Dog attacks, including dog bites and scratches, occur suddenly and can cause long lasting impact on your life. If you have been attacked by a dog, and suffered a physical or psychological injury, including scarring, you will be entitled to make a claim for compensation.
Claims for dog attacks will succeed if you prove:
- That a dog attacked you.
- Who the keeper of the dog is (this is often the owner of the dog).
- That you suffered personal injury (physical or psychological) as a result of the dog attack.
- That you suffered losses (such as pain and suffering, loss of income, loss of work capacity, medical expenses and/or need for assistance with personal care or domestic duties) as a result of the personal injury.
We can assist you to prove those matters.
You do not need to prove that the dog keeper was negligent, that the dog is a ‘dangerous dog’, or that the dog attack was intentional.
What time limits apply to dog attack claims?
It is necessary for you to provide notice of your claim, in compliance with the Court Rules. There is specific information that you are required to provide in the notice, so you should contact us to assist. That notice needs to be provided within 6 months of the date of the injury.
A three year time limit applies for making a dog attack claim. If you cannot complete your claim in that timeframe, it is necessary for you to lodge documents in Court to protect your claim for compensation from becoming statute barred. If you fail to do so, your claim will be out of time.
MKF Lawyers has been recognised as a recommended public liability law firm (as voted by defendant lawyers and barristers) in Doyle's Guide 2023.
Personal Injury Lawyers Adelaide
Frequently Asked Questions
How do legal fees work?
We act on a no win no fee basis on almost every case. The only time we wouldn't offer a no win no fee, is when a client wants to pursue a claim that we don't believe has a reasonable prospect of success.
No win no fee means that payment of our legal fees is not required until your claim has resolved and compensation is paid. The amount of our legal fees will be different in every case and we will provide you with an individualised estimate following our first detailed communication.
My child was attacked by a dog. Can a claim be made?
A claim can be made for a child attacked by a dog. If the child was attacked when they were under the age of 18, the usual 3 year time limit to bring a claim doesn’t start to run until they turn 18 years of age. That means they have until their 21st birthday to make a claim. It is important to contact us soon after the dog attack occurs so that we can gather the necessary evidence to prove liability and provide you with advice about what is needed to make a claim.
Will the dog be put down?
Whether a dog is put down following a dog attack incident will depend on the particular circumstances and if a formal complaint is made about the dog. It is not necessary for a dog to be put down for you to make a compensation claim.
Do I need to prove that the dog was dangerous?
No, you do not need to prove that the dog was dangerous to succeed in a claim.
Does it matter if I accidentally provoked the dog?
If you provoked the dog and the dog then attacked you, a compensation claim can still be made. In this case, the compensation you receive may be reduced to take into consideration any contribution by you to the incident. It is important to seek legal advice regarding the specifics of the dog attack and we encourage you to speak to us about your matter.
Do I need to complain about the dog attack to the council?
You do not have to complain to the council about the dog attack, but we recommend that you do. This is so that records about the dog attack are kept with the dog’s registration information, which is important evidence in these claims.
Who pays the compensation for a dog attack?
Home and contents insurance often includes coverage for dog attacks, even if the attack happens outside the home. If the keeper of a dog does not have such insurance then the keeper of the dog will need to pay themselves. In that circumstance it is only worth proceeding if you know that the keeper of the dog has the means to pay. We can assist in identifying any assets they may own.