If you have been injured by a farmer’s animal, you may be entitled to compensation.

Whilst the majority of farm animal attack victims are farmworkers themselves, farm animals – most notably cows – have been known to attack members of the public on occasion, with dog walkers reportedly at greatest risk. Injuries range from minor bumps and scratches to severe, life-threatening conditions such as brain injury and even death.

Several laws apply to incidents involving farm animals.  These include the law of negligence, the Animals Act 1971 and the Occupier’s Liability Acts.

Liability under negligence or the Occupier’s Liability Acts depends on the farmer failing to take reasonable care to prevent their animal from causing injury. The measures that may be ‘reasonable’ depend on the circumstances. Sometimes, warning signs may suffice. In other cases, the farmer may need to remove the animals from the public’s vicinity.

The Animals Act 1971, on the other hand, imposes strict liability on animal owners in some circumstances. This means they can be held responsible regardless of whether or not they acted negligently. However, where the animal in question is considered ‘non-dangerous’, as with most farm animals, strict conditions must be satisfied to bring a claim under the Act.

If your claim under any or all relevant laws succeeds, you will be entitled to compensation. The damages you receive will include compensation for your pain, suffering and loss of amenity, as well as any financial losses you have incurred, such as loss of earnings. Most responsible farmers will have public liability insurance to deal with your claim.