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Monday 5th September 2022

Claiming compensation if you have been injured by an animal.

claims for an injury from an animal related accidentBritain is a nation of animal lovers, but even the friendliest of our furry friends can be erratic at times and – whether they are scared, startled or simply in a bad mood – when they turn, you can get seriously hurt.

Under both common law and the Animals Act 1971, those who own or are responsible for handling animals have a legal duty to ensure that their pet or animal in their care, does not injure someone or damage property. If you can show that they breached this duty, and you were injured as a result you are highly likely to have a valid compensation claim.

The only exception to this rule is if you were solely responsible for your injuries; for example, if you were bitten trying to pet a lion in a safari park when the conditions of entry are strictly that you stay in your car and do not approach the animals, or for example, if you were beating a dog until it bit you.

Animal compensation claims can arise in a number of different scenarios, including being:

  • thrown from a horse;
  • trampled or crushed by a stampeding animal;
  • attacked by a dog;
  • gored by a cow;
  • bitten by a zoo or farm animal;
  • injured in a vehicle collision with an escaped animal;
  • made ill from a disease contracted from an animal.

Roger Henderson, a specialist personal injury solicitor with Rundlewalker in Exeter explains how you would go about making such a claim.

When should I bring my compensation claim?
You usually have three years from the time of your injury to bring a compensation claim. After that time, under the Limitation Act 1981, the case becomes ‘time-barred’, and you will usually not be allowed to proceed further with your claim.

For claims involving children, the three-year limitation period only starts to run from the date they turn 18, although you can bring a claim on their behalf before this by serving as their ‘litigation friend’. Indeed, it is usually preferable to do this while events are still fresh in the minds of everyone involved and evidence is easier to come by.

What evidence do I need?
There are a number of things you can do to help your personal injury solicitor strengthen your case, including:

  • photographing the accident scene and your injuries;
  • getting names and contact details of potential witnesses;
  • obtaining any available CCTV of the incident;
  • taking a copy of the accident book record;
  • outlining in writing how your injuries have affected you – mentally, physically and financially;
  • keeping receipts of any expenditure you have had to make as a result of your injuries.

How can a solicitor help?
Our specialist personal injury solicitors can quickly assess whether you have a valid claim. If you have, they will help you gather the evidence you need to win your case. They will also ensure you are seen by a medical expert who will gauge the cause and severity of your injury and the way it has affected your life.

They will sort out all the necessary paperwork, negotiate hard for a fair out-of-court settlement or be in court with you to speak on your behalf if your case goes that far.

What can I claim?
The amount of compensation you are awarded will depend on the severity of your injury and the length of time it takes you to recover, but it could include damages for: mental and physical pain and suffering; medical expenses; travel expenses; loss of earnings; and any future rehabilitation, support and care needs.

If you or someone you know has suffered an injury as a result of an accident involving an animal or animals, please contact Roger Henderson on 01392 209218 or email

The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice. The law may have changed since this article was published.