In Queensland, dog laws are not as strict as in other states and owners will not automatically be liable for your injuries if either you or your dog receives a dog bite. In fact, it can be difficult to prove that a dog owner was negligent and therefore liable for your injuries unless the animal has previously been classified as “dangerous” or “menacing” due to aggressive behaviour. This is sometimes referred to as the “one free bite” rule.
Compensation is available if you can prove a dog owner was negligent. Negligence occurs where there is a foreseeable risk of injury posed by a dog, but the person with control over the animal fails to take appropriate action to prevent injury to others. Where a dog has engaged in aggressive behaviour previously, this can be used as proof that a foreseeable risk existed that the owner should have been aware of.
In order to claim compensation from a dog owner, including medical costs you need to show that the dog owner was negligent. This generally means you need to prove that the dog had a history of aggression or had been declared “dangerous” or “menacing” by your local council.
Where you cannot claim compensation from the dog’s owner, your health insurance, or other domestic insurance policies may cover medical costs for which you are out of pocket.
More information - read more about public place injury compensation claims.
If you wish to report an aggressive dog, contact your local council as soon as possible. Provide as many details as you can about any incidents involving the dog including:
A dog may be declared “dangerous” by the council if it:
Alternatively, a dog may be declared “menacing” if it has:
In Queensland, dogs that have been declared “dangerous” or “menacing” must wear a collar with a yellow tag at all times identifying it as a “Regulated Dog”. Penalties apply for failures to do this.
If the dog is not wearing a collar, call your local council to enquire about whether the dog is registered as a regulated dog, or whether any previous aggressive behaviour has been reported.
If a dog attacks another animal causing injuries, its owner may be liable to compensate the other animal’s owner for consequential vet bills. Liability will arise where the dog’s owner has been negligent in restraining or controlling the animal in the circumstances. Queensland laws require that owners take reasonable steps to make sure their dog doesn’t attack another animal such as by keeping it on a lead.
However, a dog owner will not usually be liable for a dog bite or attack in circumstances where:
If you have been the victim of a dog bite or attack, it is wise to seek medical treatment straight away. It is also wise to take a record of the incident and your injuries in case you need to make a person injury claim later on.
If you have suffered significant injuries and financial losses as a result of the attack, speak to a lawyer about your prospects of claiming compensation from the owner of the dog. For professional risk-free legal advice, contact our expert personal injury lawyers based in Brisbane, Gold Coast, and Sunshine Coast.
It’s important to get advice for your specific situation. Check if you can make a risk-free compensation claim and get free initial advice from our Principal lawyer, Greg Smith.
Consumers are entitled to expect that when they use a product as directed it won't expose them to risk of serious harm. Learn how to report unsafe products.
Find out your legal rights if you've been injured due to a slip and fall in a public place such as supermarket, shopping centre, bar or public place.