In Ontario, the law is clear that a dog owner is liable for damages resulting from a dog bite or attack. Dog bites can cause serious injuries that include scarring, disfigurement, abrasions, sprains and strains, nerve damage, lacerations, puncture wounds, lost digits, tissue loss, cuts and gashes, infections such as rabies, emotional distress, social embarrassment from scarring, fractured bones, crush injuries, and psychological trauma, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Working with a Hamilton dog bite lawyer from Lalande Personal Injury Lawyers can enable you to recover fair and full compensation for all of the damages you suffered due to a dog’s unwarranted aggression.
Every dog is capable of inflicting serious injury—especially on children. Most dogs will never bite anyone. However, when a dog does act aggressively, it is most commonly caused by domination aggression, territorial aggression, protection of valuables, fear aggression, maternal aggression, redirected aggression, and pain-induced aggression.
If you are the victim of a dog bite that left you with serious injuries, the dog owner can be held responsible for such things as medical bills (cosmetic, physio and psychological services), lost wages, and pain and suffering. The law in Ontario is one of strict liability. This means that the animal’s owner (a term that includes a person who possesses or harbours the dog) is liable for damages from a bite or attack made by the dog on another person or domestic animal. If you or a loved one has been injured by a dog bite or dog attack, we can help. Our Hamilton dog attack lawyers have the knowledge and experience required to help you pursue the compensation you deserve.
Our skilled dog bite lawyers pursue a settlement on your behalf that addresses your current and existing losses, as well as any losses that may occur in the future, including cosmetic surgery to repair scars or disfigurement. If a settlement cannot be reached in your dog attack case, we will advocate for you in court to pursue a judgment in your favor.
In Ontario, the Dog Owners’ Liability Act is the law that governs who will be responsible when a dog bites someone. Ontario places strict liability on the owners of dogs that attack other people or animals.The owner of a dog will be found “strictly liable” for the injuries caused by his or her dog on others. The law does not permit for a dog owner to dispute who was at fault or whether the dog had a tendency to bite. In the end, the dog owner is automatically financially responsible for covering your damages. In other words, under Ontario dog bite law, a dog that bites is the absolute responsibility of its owner. This concept is called strict liability under dog bite law in Ontario.
An property owner can also be responsible for a dog bite or dog attack in Ontario under a law called the Occupiers’ Liability Act. The Act mandates that anyone that owns or occupies a premise in Ontario needs to reasonably protect their visitors from foreseeable harm. Anyone that owns or occupies a premise in Ontario, whether a farm, a residential home or a any type of establishment – owes a duty of care to ensure that anyone that steps foot on their property is safeguarded against danger and defects on the property, including vicious dogs with a propensity to bite and attack.
A dog owner must exercise reasonable precautions to prevent it from biting or attacking a person or domestic animal, or behaving in a manner that poses a menace to the safety of persons or domestic animals. Failure to do so is an offence and also exposes the owner to being sued civilly for damages.
Absolutely. Not only is a dog’s owner is liable for damages resulting from a bite or attack by the dog on another person – but also on another domestic animal. Liability does not depend on knowledge of the propensity of the dog or fault or negligence on the part of the owner.
A dog “owner” includes a person who possesses or harbours the dog. If the owner is a minor, the person responsible for custody of the minor is also an owner.
“Harbouring” requires the exercise of some degree of care and control over the dog, not merely allowing it to be in the home with the owner. If there is more than one owner of a dog, they are jointly and severally liable for the damage their dog caused you.
If the damage is caused by being bitten or attacked by a dog on the owner’s premises, the owner’s liability is determined under the Dog Owners’ Liability Act, not the Occupiers’ Liability Act.
If a person is on the premises with the intention of committing, or in the commission of, a criminal act and incurs damage caused by being bitten or attacked by a dog, the owner is not liable unless the keeping of the dog on the premises was unreasonable for the purpose of the protection of persons or property.
If the court finds that the dog has bitten, attacked or is a menace to the safety of persons or domestic animals, and the court is satisfied that an order is necessary for the protection of the public, the court may order that the dog be destroyed in a specified manner or that the owner of the dog take specified measures to more effectively control the dog or for public safety.
Examples of measures that may be ordered are confining the dog to its owner’s property, restraining it with a leash or muzzle or posting warning signs. In addition to taking such measures, the owner must ensure that the dog is neutered or spayed within 30 days of the making of the order or within the time period specified by the court. If a dog whose destruction has been ordered is not taken into custody immediately, the owner must restrain it by means of a leash, muzzle and such other means as the court may order until it is taken into custody.
When a court finds that the dog has bitten or attacked a person or domestic animal or that the dog’s behaviour is such that the dog is a menace to the safety of persons or domestic animals, yes, a court may make an order prohibiting the dog’s owner from owning another dog during a specified period of time.
If you have been bitten by a dog you may be entitled to compensation.
You may be entitled to compensation for pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of amenities, loss of past income, lost future income, out-of-pocket expenses, health care expenses for psychological treatment, plastic surgery and physical rehab and the loss of ability to take care of your home, both indoor and out. It is important to note that each dog bite case is decided on it’s own facts. The calculation of compensation is decided on a case by case basis, depending on the severity of the physical and psychological damaged that the victim suffered.
Many of our past victims of dog bite attacks have suffered injuries such as:
In addition, a victim of a dog attack may be compensation for their loss of enjoyment of life, loss of income, loss of housekeeping capacity and health care costs.
Facial dog attack injuries hold a special position have a propensity to both leave major visible scarring and to get infected compared to similar soft tissue wounds and injuries. Dog bites account for 90 % of facial soft tissue injuries. The injuries may no doubt cause permanent disfigurement to the victims, often requiring reconstructive surgery. Dog attack victims that suffer facial injuries often suffer psychological trauma, post-traumatic stress.
Although most dogs never bite a human, under special circumstances, any dog, especially larger dogs, are capable of inflicting major harm. Kids are the most common victims of dog bites due to their short stature especially in incidents that prove fatal. The highest incidence of dog bites tend to occur in boys 5–9 years of age. Close to half of all reported cases of dog bites in Ontario involve an animal owned by the victim’s family or more commonly, the victim’s neighbors. Dog breeds which have been identified for their role in fatal dog bite attacks are pit-bull breeds, malamutes, chows, Rottweilers, huskies, German shepherds and dobermans.
The location of injury due to dog bites is largely dependent on age. In younger children, the most frequently affected areas are the head, face, and neck. As the child grows, bites to the extremities are most common on the limbs. Bite injuries range from trivial ones needing no medical intervention to major soft-tissue defects with the loss of functionally important structures. A bite can transmit unusual pathogens from the saliva into the wound. A dog’s mouth contains more than 1,000 species of pathogenic bacteria due to which its bite wounds are generally contaminated, and their treatment is difficult because of the risk of infection, especially in extensive injuries. About 3 to 20 % dog bite wounds develop infections
Anyone experiencing an event of threatening or catastrophic nature such as a dog attack or a brutal dog bite may no doubt experience considerable post-traumatic psychological distress. Dog bites present an important public health problem and are a frequent cause of not only physical trauma in both adults and kids – but there is also a high risk of psychological stress when exposed to such a devastating physical injury. A dog attack is a phenomena that involves serious injuries and produce such intense fear, helplessness, and horror. The end result for many, may be temporary or permanent symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Injured children seem to be more vulnerable than adults to developing significant psychological distress. Many victims of dog attacks go on to suffer ongoing fear of dogs and fear of the outdoors which requires more often than not, life long treatment.
Dog owner and Occupiers’ Liability Legislation can be confusing. If you or a loved one has been injured by a dog it is important for you to speak with a Hamilton Lawyer who specializes in dog bites and dog bite attacks. Hold the animal’s owner accountable for the losses and damages you’ve suffered due to his or her canine. Discuss your case with a Hamilton dog bite lawyer from Lalande Personal Injury Lawyers today.
If you have suffered a dog bite or dog attach in Hamilton, dog attack or dog bite in Burlington, St.Catharines and Oakville call us today 905-333-8888 or complete the contact form on this page to arrange a time for your free consultation.