Hamilton Dog Bite Lawyers
We’ve all seen them: in the park, on the street, in restaurants. There are many dog owners who think they can let their dogs run loose in public areas. Putting aside the issue of the dog’s safety, the owner’s negligence increases the risk of someone getting hurt. In other words, if you or a loved have been bitten or attacked by a dog, it is very likely that you have a good case. Why?
It is the duty of a dog owner to use reasonable precautions to prevent their dog from harming any 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 use precautions is an offence that can result in the owner being sued.
The Wynperle Law firm in Hamilton and Guelph can fight for your rights and help you to receive the compensation you deserve if you’ve sustained a dog attack or bites.
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. 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 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”?
Under the law of Ontario, 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, or the owner must restrain the dog as the court so 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 in Dog Attack Cases
When a loved one, especially a child, is bitten by a dog, it can cause psychological trauma and instill a fear of all dogs into them. It can even cause anxiety or a fear to leave the house. While we cannot prevent the dog attack, at Wynperle Law we are here for you in the aftermath, dedicated to providing you with the medical support you need, and seeking the compensation you are entitled to receive 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 injuries, including:
- Severe scarring
- Puncture wounds
- Facial deformities
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.)
- Out-of-Pocket expenses
- Pain and suffering
- The inability to care for your home
- Wrongful death (in rare cases)
Compensation for a dog attack 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 factors of your case and consult with medical professionals to determine a fair settlement amount.
Remember: Victims who are no longer in danger and are physically able should clean and bandage the wound and immediately see a doctor. It is possible that the dog is rabid and you need shots.
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 to ensure the best results out of your dog bite settlement.
Should I Get a Personal Injury Lawyer in Hamilton for a Dog Bite?
Yes. You should get a personal injury lawyer because we can pursue dog bite settlements on your behalf.
We assess your current and future losses that may include cosmetic surgery or disfigurement, depending on the case. If achieving an out-of-court settlement is not possible, we are prepared to represent you in court to fight for your rights.
If you’re a victim of dog bites or an attack, contact the Wynperle firm today!