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Dog Bite Compensation Claims

Being attacked and bitten by a dog is a terrifying experience that can leave you with both a serious injury and ongoing psychological trauma. Dog owners and handlers have a responsibility to ensure that their dogs are prevented from behaving dangerously and do not cause harm to people. If they fail to do so, the injured party may have grounds to bring a compensation claim against them.

Dog attacking

Helpful Information

If you have suffered a physical and psychological injury due to being attacked by a dog, our personal injury solicitors may be able to assist you in seeking the compensation that you deserve. On this page, you will find general information to consider regarding bringing a dog bite claim.

Here at McCarthy + Co, our solicitors have decades of experience in dealing with specific types of injury compensation cases such as dog bite claims. Section 21 of the Control of Dogs Act 1986 is the law in Ireland that determines how dog bite compensation claims are dealt with. The law very clearly stipulates that dog owners are responsible for any injury caused to humans.

21. —(1) The owner of a dog shall be liable in damages for damage caused in an attack on any person by the dog and for injury done by it to any livestock; and it shall not be necessary for the person seeking such damages to show a previous mischievous propensity in the dog, or the owner’s knowledge of such previous propensity, or to show that such injury or damage was attributable to neglect on the part of the owner.

As such, there are several tasks you will need to carry out to bring a successful dog bite claim. Follow the steps below or call our personal injury team today for further advice.

Bringing a dog bite compensation claim

If you have been bitten by a dog, you should start by seeking medical attention and then reporting the incident to the Gardai. To bring a claim, you will need to follow the steps below.

  • Take photos of your injury immediately after the incident
  • Take photos of your injury as it is healing
  • Retain any clothing items that you were wearing at the time of the attack (preferably unwashed)
  • Keep a written record of the precise details of the attack
  • Get the contact details of any witnesses (if they are available)
  • Get a formal medical record from your doctor or the hospital that treated you.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Some of the questions we are often asked in relation to this topic.

  • What is the Control of Dogs Act 1986?

    The Control of Dogs Act 1986 is a key piece of legislation that governs the management and regulation of dogs to ensure public safety and animal welfare. This act imposes responsibilities on dog owners to control their dogs, particularly in public places. It requires that all dogs be kept under effective control, prohibits the presence of dogs in certain public areas, and mandates the licensing and microchipping of dogs. The act also provides for the seizure and impounding of stray dogs and outlines the responsibilities of local authorities in enforcing its provisions. It aims to prevent nuisances such as dog fouling and barking and to minimise the risk of dog attacks on people and other animals.

    Under the Control of Dogs Act 1986, specific breeds of dogs, considered potentially dangerous, are subject to additional regulations, such as mandatory muzzling and leashing in public. The legislation allows for penalties, including fines and imprisonment, for non-compliance with its rules.

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  • Do I have to prove negligence if I am attacked by a dog?

    The Control of Dogs Act 1986 establishes a principle of strict liability for dog owners, meaning that the owner of a dog is liable for any harm or damage caused by the dog, regardless of whether they were negligent in controlling the animal. This means that if you are injured by a dog, the responsibility typically falls on the owner to compensate for the injuries or damages caused.

    However, the specific circumstances of each case can influence the legal proceedings. While strict liability means negligence does not need to be proven, defenses such as provocation by the victim or trespassing on private property might be raised by the dog owner to mitigate or avoid liability. Consulting with a solicitor is advisable to understand the nuances of the case and to ensure appropriate legal action is taken.

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  • Who pays the compensation if the owner doesn't have pet insurance?

    If a dog owner does not have pet insurance and their dog causes injury or damage, the owner is personally responsible for paying any compensation awarded. This means that if you are awarded compensation due to a dog attack, and the owner does not have insurance, you may need to pursue the owner directly for payment. If the owner is unable or unwilling to pay, you might need to seek a court order to enforce the compensation award. Legal proceedings can ensure that the owner is held accountable, but the process may involve additional legal costs and time.

Start your dog bite compensation claim

If you have been attacked by a dog and you would like advice on bringing a dog bite claim, contact our solicitors today to make a start on your claim or gather more information. Call us on 1800 390 555 and an experienced member of staff will discuss your situation and potential next steps. You can also email on and we will get back to you as soon as we can.

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About McCarthy + Co

With more than 30 years of experience, McCarthy + Co. has helped many people to bring successful personal injury claims against negligent third parties, including dog bite attack cases. We are a family-run business, and we pride ourselves on offering honest, impartial, and helpful advice.

Our offices are based in Dublin and Cork, but we work with clients throughout Ireland in locations ranging from Galway to Waterford. You can count on us for legal advice, guidance, and assistance on any form of personal injury.

Useful Resources

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Flor McCarthy

Flor McCarthy

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Twitter: @flormccarthy LinkedIn: /in/flormccarthy/

wears multiple hats, not only as the managing partner of one of Ireland’s leading law firms, but also as an author, speaker and an acknowledged expert in client service, innovation and marketing.

Beginning his academic journey at UCC, Flor furthered his education with a master’s degree in law from UCD. After gaining valuable experience as a solicitor in Dublin, the allure of home and the family brought him back to West Cork to contribute his expertise to the family business.
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John McCarthy

John McCarthy

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is a seasoned solicitor with almost 20 years of experience, specialises in personal injury and medical negligence claims, focusing particularly on high-value compensation cases. His extensive litigation experience spans Circuit Court, High Court and Supreme Court levels.

John's practice involves a diverse range of cases, from personal injury and wrongful death to property damage, defective products, professional negligence and judicial reviews.
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