Under the New South Wales legislation, dog owners have full legal responsibility of looking after their dog and are liable for any injury or damage caused by their dog. If you have been bitten by a dog, you may be able to commence legal action against the dog owner for injury, compensation and for your financial losses and medical expenses.
Also, if the owner provokes their dog to bite, attack, harass or chase another person or animal, they may be guilty of an offence, even if the dog did not actually cause injury or damage. Only police dogs and Corrective Services dogs are an exception to this law.
A common question we receive is who is liable when the dog owner is not in charge of the dog at the time of the incident. For example in a circumstance when the dog is being looked after by another person while the owner is on holiday. If an incident occurs whilst the dog owner is away, then the person who is above the age of 16 years old and has responsibility of the dog at the time of the incident will be guilty of the offence.
Also, if death is a result of the dog attack, the dog owner will still be held liable and the victim’s family members can recover compensation from the dog’s owner.
If the injured person or animal has contributed by provoking or inducing the dog to attack, or damage to personal property then the dog attack victim is partly liable for the offence. However, this doesn’t totally exempt the owner from being responsible as they are still partly liable.
“…wholly, or even in part, liable if your dog attacks anyone or anything”
A important question for the dog owner is when is their liability exempted? It is important to understand that if the dog attack or damage to personal property occurs on the property of which the dog is ordinarily kept; and/or your dog was acting in immediate response; or was wholly induced by intentional provocation by a person other than its’ owner; or the encouragement to attack was in reasonable defence of a person or property; or in the course of using the dog for the working of stock; or whilst training a dog in the working of stock; or in the course of lawful hunting, the owner’s liability is exempted.
In summary, if you have been injured by a dog and you did not provoke it to attack, then you may be eligible to claim for damages, compensation, financial loss and medical expenses against the dog owner. Dog owners need to be aware that they are under strict legal obligations and will be wholly or even part liable if their dog attacks a person and causes injury or financial loss.
Taylor and Scott can help with all aspects of claiming compensation regarding animal attacks, please call us today to discuss your matter further.
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