Many of us are dog owners and animal lovers who take our responsibility for our pets and working animals very seriously. Dogs are probably the most preferred pet for a family or single person, but dog bites caused nearly 4,000 people in Australia to be hospitalised. The most common part of the body injured was the hand or wrist and head injuries accounted for 23% of the recorded incidents. Nearly three quarters of injuries to children aged 0-9 years were head injuries caused by a dog. (Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare)
While many people quite rightly seek medical attention, a number don’t realise that they could be entitled to legal compensation and should speak to a personal injury lawyer. Adelaide based solicitors have a lot of experience in ensuring a successful dog bite compensation claim is reached. Here is how you can ensure your case reaches a positive outcome.
Local laws and “one free bite”
If this is the first time the dog has ever bitten anyone, there is a clause that allows owners not to be held liable for any damages. The reason for this is that it could be the first time the animal has shown any tendency to be aggressive and the owners were not aware of these violent tendencies. However, this law is not in force across all states and territories because in some areas if a dog attacks for the first time, owners will have to cover the damages occurred. It is really important to speak to a personal injury lawyer, Adelaide specialist who can advise you on the next steps.
Make sure you take photographs of the injury and of the dog involved, not always easy in the spur of the moment but if you have a smartphone on you, then it is possible. As soon as the incident has occurred and medical treatment sought, make a written record of what happened, when and where. Note down your location at the time, the type of fencing or security in place that stopped the dog getting out to confront individuals. Was the dog supervised? Did the owner have sufficient control? Were there any warning signs on the gates? Were gates and fencing left open or damaged so the dog could get out? Note the date and time of the incident and any witnesses and keep a record of medical bills and financial loss as this will assist your case.
This is not straight forward and this is where having an experienced personal injury lawyer, Adelaide based and with a successful record of defending clients, will be the key factor in getting a dog bite compensation claim through. They will want to know whether your behaviour led to the dog biting and can ask the relevant questions to determine if you in some way contributed or caused the dog to attack. Your responsibility in preventing the incident is relative to how successful the claim will be, so if you were not trespassing, kept to public paths, did not tease or taunt the dog, your lawyer will need to note all this down and will advise you on whether you have the chance of a successful claim.
The skill of the personal injury lawyer is going to be paramount as well in this process so make sure that you choose someone with a good track record who will be able to steer you through the process and who is well versed in local laws.