Can I claim compensation if I was bitten by a dog while running?

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Our specialist dog bite team are often contacted by people asking if they can claim compensation if they were bitten by a dog while running. As this is such a common query we thought it would be helpful to prepare this legal guide.

Over the last few years running has become increasingly popular, whether it be local park runs, a gentle jog by the canal or the pinnacle of runs, a full marathon.

For those of us trying to lose a few pounds hitting the pavements or the parks to run off the calories is a popular option. However, where does that leave you if your chosen route is a minefield of aggressive or unsupervised dogs?

In recent years our dog bite team have seen a rise in the number of enquiries from people bitten by a dog while running and have been successful in winning claims for many of them, recovering compensation for both their injuries and their out of pocket losses.

Why do dogs bite?

Research shows that the reason dogs bite is due to one or more of the following factors:

  1. Where the dog finds itself in a stressful situation;
  2. To defend itself or its territory;
  3. If the dog is scared or has been startled;
  4. If the dog feels threatened; and
  5. To protect something that is valuable to them, like their puppies, their food or a toy.

When you are out running a dog may feel threatened by you immediately before or after you pass it. This feeling may be heightened if you run very close to the dog or its owner or if you get too close to their ball or something else that is important to them.

We would recommend that you give a dog plenty of space when out running and slow your speed on approach so you do not take them by surprise. It can be worth calling out to the dog’s owner to let them know you are approaching and asking them to put their dog on a lead if they are loose.

What to do if you are bitten by a dog while running

However, even when runners take precautions like this, incidents still occur. If you are unfortunate enough to be bitten by a dog while running, then we advise you take the following steps:-

  1. Make the dog owner aware that you have been bitten;
  2. Ensure your safety, if the dog is not on a lead then ask the owner to secure it;
  3. Ask the dog owner for their contact details and details of any pet insurance they have;
  4. Report the incident to the police; and most importantly
  5. Seek medical attention.

If you wish to claim compensation then we recommend that you seek legal advice as quickly as possible. If you are bitten by a dog while running, then you are entitled to claim compensation for your injuries and any financial losses suffered as a result of the bite. However, the law in relation to dog bites is quite complicated and insurers will often try to pin the blame on the runner themselves.

How we can help

Our specialist dog bite team deal with these cases every day. We work on a no win, no fee basis and represent people nationwide. We have an enviable track record of success, often succeeding with claims that other solicitors have rejected. Because we are experts in this specialised field we have established links to experts in dog behavior, highly acclaimed medical experts and specialist barristers.

So, if you have been bitten by a dog while our running and would like to know if you are eligible for compensation, give us a call on 0808 139 1590 for a free assessment or email us at