Injuries caused by dogs
Injuries caused by dogs

The following PI & Clinical Negligence guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Injuries caused by dogs
  • Dog’s previous behaviour
  • Claim under the Animals Act 1971
  • Claim in negligence
  • Guard dogs
  • CICA claims for dog injuries?

Dog’s previous behaviour

For most canine claims, the dog’s behaviour in the past is all-important.

In a claim in negligence, the claimant must prove that the defendant should have foreseen the risk of injury and taken reasonable steps to prevent it. If the owner had no reason to anticipate the behaviour, it will not be possible to establish blame.

The dog’s history will also be important in a personal injury claim brought under section 2(2) of the Animals Act 1971 (AA 1971) where the dog does not belong to a dangerous species but where it has displayed behaviour that is abnormal for the dog’s species. Unless there is evidence that the behaviour had happened before the injury was sustained, the claimant will not be able to satisfy AA 1971, s 2(2)(c).

Evidence of previous incidents may be available from a dog bite register kept by the police. Alternatively, neighbours may know if a dog has a history of aggression.

If a defendant (usually the owner but can be a person in charge of the dog) has been convicted under the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 (DDA 1991) for keeping a banned breed or allowing a dog to be dangerously out of control, the conviction can provide support to a claimant’s case. A claimant who wishes to rely on a relevant conviction must include it