Dog bite attacks can have a lasting impact not just on the person bitten but by those closest to them.
Dog bite solicitors have found that while many Personal Injury No Win No Fee firms hold themselves out as dog bite claims specialists they often overlook this very significant part of a claim.
This is important because if someone has witnessed an injury arising out of a dog bite and suffered a psychological injury as a result then they may have a claim as a “secondary victim”.
In law a primary victim is a person who is directly involved in an incident and suffers injury as a result. Whereas a secondary victim is a person who is not directly involved in the incident but witnesses the incident first hand and develops a psychiatric injury arising out of the event that has caused injury to their loved one.
To be considered a secondary victim a claimant must prove;
1. They have a relationship of love and affection with the primary victim
2. They witnessed or came across the immediate aftermath of the event
3. They have direct perception of the harm to the primary victim
4. They are of reasonable fortitude
The Courts have historically been slow to find that a Claimant meets the strict criteria of a secondary victim as they need to balance the rights of the injured party and the possible influx of multiple claims arising out of one incident.
Therefore if you feel you suffered a psychological injury and should be considered a secondary victim then you need to ensure that you seek legal advice from solicitors who know the law and have experience in this aspect of dog bite claims.
At Slee Blackwell LLP we have acted for a number of Claimants who have suffered PTSD or other psychiatric injuries after witnessing their loved ones, usually young children, being attacked by dogs.
In many cases the injuries are significant and have left Claimants unable to work and requiring treatment such as counselling or cognitive behaviour therapy.
A secondary victim is entitled to seek exactly the same compensation as any other Personal Injury Claimant. This means that as well as looking to recover compensation for the injury suffered they are entitled to recover any past or future losses associated with their injury. This can include lost earnings and treatment costs.
If you feel you have been the victim of a psychological injury and believe you fall within the category of a secondary victim following a dog attack then contact our specialist dog bite compensation claims team for a free case assessment.