Hamilton Dog Bite Lawyers
Whether it’s in a park, on a street, or inside a restaurant, one can often come across dog owners who assume they can permit their dogs to run around without any restraint. However, such irresponsible actions not only endanger the well-being of the dog but also heighten the risk of harm to the general public. If you or your family member has been the victim of a dog bite or attack, it is highly likely that you have grounds for a legal claim. Why?
It is the duty of the dog’s owner to use reasonable precautions to prevent their dog from harming another person or domestic animal. The pet owner must also ensure that their dog’s behaviour does not pose a threat to the safety of people and domestic animals. Property owners must ensure that anyone who steps foot on their property is safe from dogs.
Under Ontario’s laws, such as the Dog Owners’ Liability Act, failure to take the necessary precautions to prevent dog bite attacks is an offence that can result in a dog bite lawsuit.
The Wynperle Law firm in Hamilton is here to serve dog attack victims and help them to receive the compensation they deserve.
Ontario Dog Bite Law: What are My Rights if My Dog Bites Someone?
Dog owners in Ontario need to be aware of the Dog Owners’ Liability Act and what it entails. In most cases, Ontario dog bite law dictates that the owner is financially responsible for a dog bite, or dog attacks.
Failure to comply with the Dog Owners’ Liability Act could result in significant legal repercussions. The law applies to all dog owners in Ontario, regardless of the dog’s breed. It is crucial to understand the Act’s provisions, which include strict liability, fines, and even imprisonment in severe cases. Dog owners must prioritize their responsibilities and ensure that their pets are appropriately trained and adequately restrained in public spaces.
Some of the important aspects to note include:
- The owner is liable for damages if another person or domestic animal receives a bite or is attacked by the owner’s dog.
- Liability does not depend upon knowledge that their dog was prone to biting or attacking. In other words, the owner is still liable for damages, whether or not they knew their dog bites or attacks.
- The court will reduce damages owed to the victim if it’s found that the dog bite victim is responsible in some way for the attack or bite. The owner’s financial responsibility can also be eliminated, depending on the situation. If a victim sustains dog bites during the course of a criminal act, for instance, the owner would not be held liable.
Who are “Dog Owners”?
According to Ontario’s laws, a dog owner is defined as a person possessing or harbouring a dog. What does “harbouring” mean? When a person exercises some control and care over the dog— as opposed to simply allowing it to be present in the home—they are harbouring a dog.
If a dog owner is a minor, however, the responsibility of the dog falls on the person who is responsible for the minor. When there is more than one owner, each one is responsible and liable for the dog’s behaviour.
The Occupiers’ Liability Act can also come into play when it comes to a dog bite. Any individual who occupies or owns an Ontario property is obligated to protect visitors. Property owners have a duty of care to ensure that anyone who steps on the premises, whether the property is a farm, residence or a commercial establishment, is protected from harm caused by a dog.
Should a Dog That Has Bitten Someone Be Put Down?
Depending on the case, if the court decides that the dog is a threat to the safety of people or domestic animals, the court has the right to order for the dog to be put down.
If this is the case, the dog will be taken into custody immediately, otherwise, the owner must restrain the dog as the court orders until it is taken into custody. The owner may even be issued a time period during which they cannot own another dog.
However, the court can also issue the owner with specific orders on how to effectively control their dog for the safety of the public. The owner must put these orders into effect during the time period specified by the court. These orders may include:
- Confinement of the dog to the owner’s property
- Posting warning signs around the property to alert the public of the presence of a dog
- Restraining the dog with a leash
- Restraining the dog with a leash and muzzle
Additionally, the owner must have their dog neutered or spayed in the time period specified by the court.
Financial Compensation for Dog Attacks
When a loved one, especially a child, is bitten by a dog, it can cause both physical and psychological injuries. The psychological trauma a person may experience due to a serious animal attack, like PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), can have lasting impacts that over time end up being more debilitating than their physical injuries. While we cannot prevent the dog attack, at Wynperle Law, we are here for you in the aftermath, dedicated to providing you with the legal and medical support you need as you seek compensation for your pain and suffering.
Wynperle Law has handled many cases throughout Hamilton, Guelph, and Ontario. The victims of dog attacks have sustained various types of physical injuries, including:
When someone is bitten by a dog and they were not committing a criminal act, they are entitled to compensation. Depending on the case, it will serve the purpose of paying for:
Loss of past income and lost future income
Medical expenses (e.g., psychological treatment, physical rehabilitation, etc.)
Pain and suffering
The inability to care for your home
Wrongful death (in rare cases)
Compensation for a dog bite injury will vary. On average, the payout can be between $10,000 and $30,000. The amount can enter the hundreds of thousands range for severe injuries, even as much as $1 million. A dog bite lawyer will evaluate the various aspects of your case and consult with medical professionals to determine a fair settlement amount.
Remember: If you have been bitten by a dog, it is crucial to act quickly to prevent further complications. Firstly, make sure you are no longer in danger and assess the severity of the wound. If it is a minor injury, clean the wound thoroughly and cover it with a bandage. However, if the injury is more severe, seek medical attention immediately. In addition, it is essential to determine if the dog is vaccinated against rabies. If not, there is a risk of contracting the virus, and you will need to receive rabies shots. Don’t take any chances with a dog bite.
Every Victim Should Make a Dog Bite Claim
Not all dog bite settlements need to be brought to court. You may be able to receive your settlement from the dog owner’s insurance company. Some policies include dog bites outside of the home, such as at a park, or specify certain breeds, including pit bulls.
However, in some instances you may need to go to court, such as when:
- The dog owner does not have insurance and will not compensate you
- The dog owner believes the settlement should be reduced because they claim you provoked the dog
- The insurance company does not give you a satisfactory settlement offer
Our personal injury law firm recommends hiring a lawyer even if your claim does not need to go to court because we can present a strong case to insurance companies and work to maximize your dog bite settlement.