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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.
 

 
FAQ
What can I claim for?
What does 'on a contingency basis' mean?
I was injured in a motor accident, does that count as a personal injury claim?
I have heard it is impossible to get doctors to give evidence against other negligent doctors?
I am a doctor and I would like to refer a case to you on a confidential basis. Can this be done?
I have heard these cases take a long time and it can be many years before they are resolved?
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Fractured Vertebrae R550 000
Post traumatic Stress disorder in child R70 000
Fractured left foot R600 000
Whiplash R770 000
Whiplash to neck and back with Neuropsychological Sequelae R375 000
Fractured tibia/fibula & Fractured wrists & Fractured Elbow in 73 year old R170 000
Fractured both feet and Torn ligaments in ankle R370 000
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FAQ
 
What can I claim for?

All personal injury claims consist of largely of the same catergories in which you can claim.

The categories would always include things such as general damages, which are money for pain and suffering, as well as money for the past medical expenses that you have incurred. In addition to this, with the use of medico legal experts, and other experts such as actuaries, we will calculate what future medical expenses you require as well as any potential future loss of income, in addition to your past loss of income.

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What does 'on a contingency basis' mean?

We can handle cases on a contingency basis, meaning that clients can elect if they want to, that instead of having to pay hourly fees (which can in some cases, especially bigger matters, be cheaper) enter into an agreement in terms of the Contingency Fees Act.

If we proceed on that basis, we agree on a fee in terms of the Contingency Fees Act and in return, we take all of the risks and run the case on your behalf. 

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I was injured in a motor accident, does that count as a personal injury claim?

A claim against the Road Accident Fund for injuries sustained in a motor accident is probably the most common type of personal injury claim in South Africa, and it is the one that most people are familiar with. You can read more about these types of claims on our related website www.accidentclaim.co.za .

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I have heard it is impossible to get doctors to give evidence against other negligent doctors?

This is a common perception that people have, but it is not the reality and while it sometimes seems to be more common in smaller areas, it is certainly not the case in a large city where most of the experts we use are based. You certainly will, from time to time, find that a certain expert may not wish to give evidence against another expert, but by and large, one is dealing with professionals.

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I am a doctor and I would like to refer a case to you on a confidential basis. Can this be done?

A lot of matters are referred to us by doctors, and in many cases, while it is important to them that justice is done, they do not want their name to come up in any subsequent proceedings. We are happy to assist and in such a matter we would suggest that you contact Michael personally at michael@onlinelaw.co.za or on 011 4464200.

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I have heard these cases take a long time and it can be many years before they are resolved?

We don’t want to tell you that that is not the case, but the truth is that any case that is worth more than R100 000,00, and we generally do not take on smaller cases, is going to proceed in the High Court. That would be the case for most divorces as well, and you cannot get a court case in the High Court much faster than approximately 2 years. So, unless the matter is settled, it is quite normal that it will be a number of years before it is finalised. On the other hand, you should not let that stand in the way of ensuring that justice is done.

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127 Jan Smuts Avenue, Parkwood, Johannesburg | Tel: 011 4464200 | Fax: 011 7887274 | personalinjury@onlinelaw.co.za
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