We all know that a dog is a person’s best friend, but what happens when a person has been injured as a result of an attack by that best friend?
In a recent case, a woman who was walking on a public footpath with her poodle was successful in a claim for compensation against the owner of a 40 – 50kg Rottweiler, after she was attacked and mauled.
The Rottweiler had been indoors and was not restrained. The woman and her poodle attracted the attention of the Rottweiler, and it proceeded to push and open the unlocked screen door, and run out of the house, across the front yard, and across the road, where it then attacked and wounded the woman. The woman sustained severe injuries to her hand, thumb (including tendons), index finger, an injury to the cartilage of her first finger joint and extensive lacerations to her left hand. She was also diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and an adjustment disorder.
Following the attack on the woman, the Rottweiler then also proceeded to attack and maul the woman’s poodle. The smaller dog suffered extensive biting injuries to its legs, back, torso and thorax.
In NSW, the owner of a dog can be held liable for injuries suffered by a person as a result of a dog attack. In some circumstances, the dog owner can even be liable to pay compensation for damage to personal property (for example, clothing). In this case, the injured woman claimed compensation for her own injuries, as well as the injuries suffered by her dog.
Ultimately, the owner of the Rottweiler accepted liability for the incident and the woman was awarded $225,000.00 in compensation.
Dog attacks can be an extremely traumatic event. They often result in significant physical and / or psychiatric injuries, as well as scarring and disfigurement. If you or someone you know is involved in a dog attack, we recommend seeking legal advice.
The contents of this publication are for reference purposes only. This publication does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Special legal advice should always be sought separately before taking any action based on this publication.