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Dog Bites

Amongst the personal injury claims we handle, are claims for dog bites or injuries by other animals. These cases can be brought on the grounds of negligence by the owner of a tamed animal or in terms of an action based on pauperis where even if the owner of the animal is not negligent, one can still recover compensation from that owner if the animal acted in a vicious way or from an internal excitement that is contrary to the nature of that animal.

The onus to prove the case is on the person who was injured but, in the pauperion action, this onus is initially proved by simply showing that, for example, you were bitten by the dog for no reason. The owner, if he or she would then want to escape liability, would have to prove that it was the fault of the person that was bitten and that the dog acted in some way either, for example, to defend itself or, for example because it was provoked.

These cases are most common in the case of people, who are bitten by dogs, but cases can lie against the owner of a horse, for example, that suddenly bolts while it is being ridden by its rider and thus causes an injury to another person. In most cases, owners of such animals are covered for the damage caused by the owners in terms of their household liability insurance. This is insurance that many people think is just a gimmick, when it is usually tossed in free, together with some or other policy, for example coverage on one’s house, but this is exactly where it plays its role.

One would also, for example, have a claim against watch dogs or dogs utilised by either security guards or the police although, as is always the case in law, one must go into the factual situation of the matter and in this regard you obviously need to consult with an attorney. 

If you have any queries in this regard, please write us at personalinjury@onlinelaw.co.za.

You can read more about these types of claims on our related website www.personalinjury.co.za.