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Claiming Compensation for a Zoo Accident

Generally, zoos are safe and fun places to visit. However, there are certain risks that you could encounter – either as a customer or as an employee of a zoo. For example, there is the risk of sustaining a bite or other type of injury after an accidental animal attack. Such an attack could be due to the individual failings of an employee to follow safety protocol or due to wider negligence of the zoo or zoo equipment as a whole. No matter the specific reason behind why your accident occurred, if you were involved in an incident that was not your fault then you may be able to claim compensation.

Zoo Accidents

When near animals, there is always a risk of being attacked and suffering injuries such as bite marks, scratches and cuts or even more serious injuries. Staff members are most at risk of experiencing an animal attack due to their continued proximity with potentially dangerous animals throughout the day but there is also the possibility of a customer experiencing an injury if an animal gets loose of an enclosure or if a customer falls into an enclosure.

If your animal attack was due to someone else’s negligence, such as a staff member forgetting to close a particular hatch which usually contains animals to a certain area while preforming a specific task, or if a safety mechanism mechanically failed, then you may be able to claim compensation.

You could also contract an illness due to coming into contact with animals – the most common illness that could occur is E.coli. These types of illnesses are most likely to occur at petting zoos where both staff members and customers are in close proximity with animals but illnesses could also be contracted at more general zoos for staff members.

You could also experience a more general accident type of accident which could occur at any public place. In particular, a slip, trip and fall accident which is incredibly common could happen at a zoo. If a spillage was not cleaned up by a staff member after they were notified about it or if a sign was not placed near a recently cleaned floor to indicate it was wet, then could be able to claim for the zoo’s negligence.

Fatal Accidents

While this is fairly rare, there is always the possibility that an accident in a zoo could tragically lead to a fatal injury – particularly for staff members who are more likely to suffer an animal attack in general. In a case where an accident has led to death, there are three different legal bodies who would be able to claim compensation: the deceased’s estate, those who were dependent upon the deceased, and the deceased’s immediate family.

Jefferies Solicitors understand how potentially devastating such an event could be for your family and so our experts will talk you through the legal process and guide you every step of the way to try and minimise the stress upon you.

Protections for Zoo Employees

No matter the business, employers have a duty of care to ensure the safety of their employees – as specifically set out by the 1974 Health and Safety at Work Act. However, there are specific legal regulations and guidelines which apply to working in a zoo. These guidelines include providing adequate and correct training, equipment and any necessary clothing to ensure that every staff member is informed about protocol and is best prepared to do their job. There is also the need to complete regular safety checks upon enclosures and procedures which are relevant to the job – such as feeding time. This can ensure that there are no mechanical failures within the safety mechanisms of a cage, and this can ensure that each employee understands how to keep safe and what to do when carrying out certain tasks.

If you believe that your employer has not carried out any of these types of safety regulations, and you have experienced an injury as a result, then you could be able to claim compensation against them for this negligence.

Collecting Evidence

As soon as an incident occurs, you should seek medical attention at the zoo as well as notifying a zookeeper about what has happened so that they can contain the problem and try and ensure that no one else suffers harm. While these two steps are important for your safety and the safety of others, they also serve the purpose of creating a record about your accident, which can later be used as evidence to claim compensation. It is also important that a local authority is contacted, whether that is the police, NHS when going to the hospital, the council or a zoo regulatory body in order to create a further record of your experience which can also be used as evidence.

If possible, it is also useful to take photographic evidence of your injuries so that they can later be accurately assessed to understand how severe they are and how they might impact your life going forward. You should also take pictures of the scene where the accident occurred if possible as these can later be used as evidence as well.

Calculating Compensation

Every case is individualistic which means that it’s evidence must be assessed on an individual basis when understanding how much compensation could be owed. However, there are general estimates that can be made about certain injuries – for example if you have experienced severe. facial scarring the compensation could be anywhere from £23,000 to roughly £77,000 depending upon the seriousness. Any psychiatric injuries are also accounted for when understanding how much compensation you could be owed. Costs relating to your injuries, such as travel costs or a loss of income due to an inability to return to work could also be accounted for when determining how much compensation someone is owed.

Our compensation calculator will give you an indication of how much you might be entitled to based upon your injuries.

There is usually a three-year claims limit on personal injury cases such as these so you should contact a personal injury solicitor as soon as possible to assess your claim.

Contact Jefferies Solicitors

Our experts at Jefferies Solicitors are well experienced in dealing with a range of different case types. We understand how traumatic sustaining an injury can be and so we want to make the process of claiming compensation as stress-free as possible.

To learn more and to discuss your potential claim in confidence, contact our team on 0800 342 3206. Alternatively, complete our online contact form to arrange an initial no-obligation telephone consultation with a member of our expert team. 

Where next? Read How To Claim