DOG BITES AND ANIMAL ATTACKS OVERVIEW
Every year, thousands of Canadians are bitten by animals—often by dogs. If you or a loved one has been bitten by an animal you may have a legal right to recover damages from the animal’s owner. Often times an owner’s home insurance will step in and defend the claim and be responsible at law for the damages you have sustained.
SEEK MEDICAL ATTENTION IMMEDIATELY
It goes without saying, that if you have been bitten, you must immediately seek medical attention. Unlike some other injuries, animal bites can cause serious infection and diseases and therefore you must do whatever possible to get the medical treatment you need as quick as possible.
CONSULT WITH AN EXPERIENCED PERSONAL INJURY LAWYER
Once you have addressed the exigent need for medical care, you should immediately consult with a lawyer experienced in dog bite cases. By contacting our law office, we will be able to schedule a free no-obligation consultation, and provide a proper assessment of your claim. During this meeting, we will ask you detailed information about the circumstances surrounding the animal bite such as the name and address of the animal’s owner. It is also a good idea to gather any witnesses contact information as early as possible.
HOW DO DOG AND ANIMAL BITE CLAIMS WORK
After our initial consultation, the most important thing to endeavor in is making sure you have the appropriate follow-up appointments and treatment facilitated to get you back to your pre-injury health. Animal bites often cause nerve damage for instance, and you may require physiotherapy or other treatment. As aforementioned, infections are also common in dog bites, which makes follow-up care very important to all of our dog bite or animal bite clients.
Along with developing your treatment and rehabilitation regime, we will identify and put on notice the party or parties responsible for your injuries; most often the owner of the animal. According to the Dog Owners’ Liability Act in Ontario, the owner of a dog is liable for damages resulting from a bite or attack by the dog on another person or domestic animal. The act states, in section 2 subsection (3), “The liability of the owner does not depend upon knowledge of propensity of the dog or fault or negligence on the part of the owner, but 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”. In other words, an animal owner for instance will be liable for the damages caused by their animal. If the injured victim instigated the attack to some degree by say taunting, teasing, or hurting the animal than that may diminish some amount of the damages.
DEFENSES TO DOG AND ANIMAL BITE CASES
Sometimes, not always, an owner with a vicious animal might not be held liable for an attack by their animal. This may be the case, if the owner of the animal properly warned other people that the animal was dangerous, and took measures to keep the animal away from people. Therefore, people have a duty to take notice of such warning and act accordingly, avoiding the forewarned danger.
GETTING THE HELP YOU DESERVE
If you have been injured by some form of animal attack or dog bite, you may be entitled to recover medical expenses, lost wages, loss of economic opportunity, pain and suffering, and other damages. If the owner acted recklessly or with the intentional infliction of harm, you may be entitled to what is known as punitive or aggravated damages, usually awarded where the wrongdoer’s conduct is considered more than mere negligence.
If you or a loved one has been bitten by an animal, contact our law office to discuss your legal rights and provide you with an understanding of what your claim’s process may look like. At our law firm, we know that even the most tame dog or animal can go rogue and bite someone. To learn more about the process and for a free no-obligation consultation, call our office now.
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