A “cruel and unfair” change of policy has meant that people who suffer life-changing injuries in dog attacks are denied compensation to help fund their care, the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL) has claimed.
Neil Sugarman, president of APIL, highlights that it is a criminal offence to be responsible for a dog that is dangerously out of control and that victims of other crimes are able to claim compensation through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme to help put their lives back on track. However, victims of violent dog attacks lost this right four years ago, when their right to claim under the scheme was removed. The only exception is if the dog was used deliberately to attack, rather than its owner being careless or reckless.
“Dog attacks can result in very severe injuries and the consequences for babies and young children in particular who survive are heartbreaking,” commented Neil Sugarman, president of APIL. “In some cases, they will no longer lead the lives that they should have enjoyed, and may always need specialist care and support.”
“We are all aware of increasing reports of truly horrific attacks, particularly on children, by dogs which are known to be threatening,” he added. “Elderly people are also vulnerable and may never recover fully. Tougher jail sentences and penalties have been introduced to deal with the people responsible for the animals, but we need to look after the survivors.”
“The fact that these victims are out of the scope of the scheme is a cruel and unfair oversight in this country’s support system for victims of crime,” he said.
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