Can I make a personal Injury claim for a dog attack

10 April 2024

While most dogs are friendly and well-behaved, any dog has the potential to bite or attack under certain circumstances. Dog attacks and bites are unfortunate incidents that can cause physical and emotional trauma to victims.

In Northern Ireland, as elsewhere, dog attacks can occur unexpectedly, leaving individuals suffering sometimes serious injury and extreme distress.  It is important that anyone who has been victim to a dog attack or bite understands their rights and options for seeking compensation through a personal injury claim.

What is the law surrounding dog attacks?

In Northern Ireland, the legislation governing an attack by a dog is The Dogs (Northern Ireland) Order 1993.  While this legislation primarily deals with the rules around the proper licensing and control of dogs, Article 29 of the Order specifically deals with a situation where a dog attacks a person or another animal.

Article 29 stipulates that where a dog attacks a person or another animal, the owner or keeper of that dog at the time, could face up to two years in prison and a £5,000 fine. 

However, what is the position for the person who has been attacked and has most likely sustained an injury as a result, or for the owner of an animal that has been hurt or killed as a result of the attack by a dog which has not been properly controlled?

Am I entitled to seek compensation following a dog attack?

If you have been injured in a dog attack in Northern Ireland, you may be entitled to make a personal injury claim under Article 53 of The Dogs (Northern Ireland) Order 1993. 

 A personal injury claim allows victims to seek compensation for their physical, emotional, and financial losses resulting from the attack.

Article 53 sets out that anyone found guilty of a breach of Article 29 where damage has been caused, has a right of action against the owner or keeper of the dog in question. The owner or keeper may be able to argue that their dog was provoked or enticed to attack in some way, if that was the case, but this will only serve to reduce the value of the claim and not defeat it in most circumstances.

In relation to the likelihood of actually receiving any compensation from the owner or keeper of the dog, what most people don’t realise is that many home insurance policies will provide insurance cover for attacks by dogs.  As such, if you or a family member have been the victim of an attack or if you have lost an animal to a dog attack, you may be entitled to compensation.

At Francis Hanna & Co Solicitors we have a  team of specialist solicitors who can ensure that you obtain the compensation you are entitled to for an injury arising out of a dog attack.  Contact our Personal Injury department by calling 028 9024 3901 or email your query to to arrange a free, no obligation discussion.