If you’ve suffered from a dog bite, you may be owed compensation. Speak with a personal injury lawyer today to learn more about your rights and legal options. This guide reviews the Dog Owners Liability Act of Ontario and your rights if you’ve been injured by another person’s animal.
Common Causes of Dog Bite Injuries
Most dog bite attacks are accidental. The dog involved may have been startled or threatened by someone who treated it too aggressively, encroached on its territory, or got too close to its food. The dog’s owner is responsible if you were bitten by a dog that was not properly restrained or supervised. Examples include:
Runaway dogs that have escaped from a home or yard and bitten a stranger
Dog bite attacks due to an improperly socialized dog
Injuries involving dogs that have not been vaccinated
Attacks against people who have a right to be on the dog owner’s property, such as a postal worker
When is a Dog Owner Liable for Dog Bites?
The Dog Owner’s Liability Act is meant to provide legal recourse to anyone injured in a dog bite incident. If a dog attacked you, you could file a dog bite claim against the owner for compensation. You can only bring a personal injury claim against a dog owner if their dog attacked you or your domestic animal without provocation and because it was not adequately trained or supervised.
For example, if you’re trespassing on someone’s property and there is a sign warning you of a dog on the premises, you’re not likely to win a dog bite case. However, if you’re attacked by a dog on the loose in your neighborhood, you could file civil and criminal charges against the owner.
What Compensation Can Dog Bite Victims Claim?
Dog owners may be liable if their dog attacks someone severely enough to cause physical or emotional harm. Dog bite claims may seek compensation for the following types of damage.
Physical Injuries Requiring Immediate Medical Attention
The most important thing you need to do after an attack is treat the dog bite wound. You may need to go to a hospital to make sure the wound is free of infection or to receive vaccinations when you’re not sure if the dog is rabid. After you seek medical attention, you should connect with a personal injury lawyer to see if the dog owner is liable for your medical bills.
Some injuries may require physical rehabilitation. For example, if a dog knocks someone over and causes a broken bone, the victim may undergo an extensive recovery period. The dog’s owner can be held liable for the cost of physical therapy until the victim is well.
Surgery may be required in severe cases or when a dog bite occurs in a location that leaves an unsightly scar. In some cases, surgical procedures may be required to repair damage to the skin, to treat a deep infection of the wound, or to remove a disfigured limb. Victims may seek compensation for the cost of any surgery linked to a dog attack.
A dog attack can dissuade someone from interacting with pet owners in the future or make them avoid public places altogether out of fear. The lasting mental impact of dog bite cases is often underestimated, with conditions such as anxiety disorder and PTSD making it difficult for victims to return to a normal life. An experienced dog bite lawyer can help you reach a fair settlement that takes your mental anguish into account.
Disfigurement or Disability
If the dog bite incident was so severe that you suffered permanent disfigurement or a long-term disability, you can claim compensation for the reduction to your quality of life. Taking legal action can ensure you’re able to pay for the ongoing medical care you may require due to your disfigurement, as well as lost wages due to not being able to return to work.
What Should I Do if I Have a Dog Bite Case?
If you’ve been bitten by a dog, the first thing you should do is get treated for your wounds. Make sure you preserve evidence from the incident and record where the incident occurred. This information is important for proving fault and building your case against the dog’s owner.
When a domestic animal attacks a human being, the owner can file a claim with their insurance company to cover any damages they’re found liable for. Even if the dog owner doesn’t have many assets, their home owner’s insurance may cover damages if they have legal responsibility for the incident.
An experienced personal injury lawyer knows how to work with the dog’s owner and insurance company to ensure you receive fair, reasonable compensation for your injuries. If the dog has a history of attacking humans, the incident could be considered a criminal act and the owner may face additional charges.