Summer often goes hand in hand with some things. Picnics. Boating. Dog bites.
Unfortunately, this is the season that Chatham personal injury lawyers see an increase in claims resulting from dog bites or attacks. Yes, victims of dog bites can hold the dog’s owner responsible and be compensated for their injuries. But there are some things you must know about our dog bite laws in order for you to do this successfully.
Our Dog Bite Laws Are Very Clear, Unlike Other Provinces
When it comes to dog bite laws in Ontario, The Dog Owners Liability Act is clear. In Section 2(1) it states “The owner of a dog is liable for damages resulting from a bite or attack by the dog on another person or domestic animal.” Section 2(3) also states “The liability of the owner does not depend upon knowledge of the propensity of the dog or fault or negligence on the part of the owner….” This means simply that the owner or handler of the dog does not need to act carelessly in order to be liable for damages and did not have to have prior knowledge of the dog’s nature to bite or act aggressively.
A Dog That is Provoked
What happens if the dog is provoked? This is covered under the Act as well. Section 2(3) further states that “the court shall reduce the damages awarded in proportion to the degree, if any, to which the fault or negligence of the plaintiff caused or contributed to the damages.” This means that damages can be reduced if the dog’s owner can prove that you contributed to the attack.
Get Medical Attention
If you have been bitten by a dog, seek medical attention immediately. Dog bites can potentially carry viruses detrimental to humans as well as bacteria that can quickly lead to infections. Make sure to take photographs of the injuries as soon as possible to document them, as well as photographs over time.
You will also want to exchange information with the dog’s owner or handler. You will want to note the breed, color, size of the dog, and take a photo if possible. When the owner gives you their phone number, try it right away to make sure you have gotten a real number. Make sure to report the bite immediately to police or animal services.
Seek Professional Advice for Filing a Claim
If the bite took place on the premises of the owner, that liability is determined under the rules of The Dog Owners Liability Act and not the Occupiers’ Liability Act which would require the victim to prove negligence. Although some people would choose not to bring a claim against a homeowner at times like this, you should also be compensated for any injuries and medical costs. When a dog bite claim is filed, it normally goes through homeowner’s insurance and the owner will not pay out of pocket. Remember that dog bites can cause lasting and disfiguring effects, especially when it comes to children and the elderly.
If you have been injured by a dog bite or attack, make sure to seek the advice of a Chatham injury lawyer that is well versed in dog bite laws. Call the legal team at AB Personal Injury Lawyer for a no-cost consultation.