Once bitten, twice shy

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14 July 2014

Once bitten, twice shy


If you have been bitten by a dog, you are less likely to be able to recover compensation than if you had been bitten by Luis Suarez!!


A recent decision by the Criminal Injuries Appeal Tribunal confirmed that criminal injuries compensation is not payable irrespective of the extent of injury or disfigurement caused to anyone (young or old, male or female) who is bitten by a dog unless the dog has been used as a weapon (i.e. was deliberately set upon the unfortunate victim).


The Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme is generally available to compensate (albeit modestly) from taxpayers’ money those law-abiding citizens who have been injured as a result of a crime or violence and whom may otherwise have no redress.  The scheme is state recognition that all law-abiding citizens should look after their fellow law- abiding citizens.  It is often the case that anyone injured by a dog has little redress because either the dog owner is not known or more often, even if known, has no insurance, no money and is not worth suing.  The dog owner may well be prosecuted for keeping or failing to control the dog and the dog may be destroyed as a result.  The injured person however may be left with permanent physical and mental scarring and no compensation.


But prevention is better than cure (if compensation can be regarded as a cure).  Irresponsible dog owners are unlikely to have insurance and perhaps the answer is a change in the law whereby certain breeds have to be insured and registered, and can only be registered if insured, not unlike a motorist!