Can I claim compensation if the dog owner hasn’t been found?
Being attacked by a dog can be an incredibly traumatising experience and the physical injuries you have sustained may be life-changing. If you have been attacked by another person’s dog, then you have the right to make a claim for compensation. But what if the dog owner has never been found? Can you still make a claim?
Unfortunately, it will be impossible to make a claim under the circumstances because you need somebody to make a claim against. The person you would be making a claim against is the owner of the dog so if they haven’t been found, you can’t make a claim.
However, you do have three years from your date of limitation (the date your injuries became clear) to put in a personal injury claim for a dog bite, and if the police are looking into the attack (which they should be), then there is a good chance that the owner of the dog will be found eventually. When they are, you can make a claim for financial compensation, as long as the attack was no more than three years ago.
As such, the importance of filing a police report if you have been attacked by a dog cannot be overstated. The police are your ally when it comes to tracking down the owner of the dog, and they will take it very seriously indeed. Under the Animals Act 1971, the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991 and the Dangerous Dogs (Amendment) Act 1997, you are entitled to make a claim for compensation whether you have been attacked on private or public property. A reported dog bite attack in a public or private place will be looked into by the police and based on a description of the owner and the dog, they will do their best to track them down.
Minors have three years from the date of their 18th birthday to make a claim. So if you are under 18 and you are reading this, you can make a new claim for a dog bite attack within 3 years of your 18th birthday. Alternatively, your parent or legal guardian can make a claim on your behalf right now. Unfortunately, it will be difficult to make a claim if the owner of the dog hasn’t been found. You need to know who the dog owner is to make a claim.
If you see the dog owner who attacked you and they have not been identified yet, call the police. They will attend the scene as soon as they are able to and with a name, you will be able to make a strong claim for financial compensation.