According to statistics, approximately 42 dog bites occur every hour in Canada. In Ontario alone, there are over 5000 dog bites reported every year.
Victims of dog attacks are often reluctant to report incidents or seek compensation because they know the dog and its owner. It is important to remember, however, that dog ownership is a responsibility. If you are injured in a dog attack, you are entitled to compensation from the dog’s owner. As long as the dog owner has insurance coverage through a homeowner’s or tenant’s insurance policy, or has the personal resources to pay compensation, it is worth learning your rights.
In Ontario, the Dog Owner’s Liability Act has been in force since 1990. It deals specifically with the civil liability of dog owners. In short, this Act holds a dog’s owner(s) strictly responsible for damages resulting from a dog bite or dog attack.
If you are the victim of a dog bite or attack, you can be compensated for any damages sustained, including pain and suffering.
The only exception to the general rule of liability is in a situation where someone is bitten or attacked on the owner’s premises while in the act of, or with the intention of, committing a crime. In such cases, the owner is not liable for any damages sustained.
If you are the victim of a dog bite or attack, you can be compensated for any damages sustained, including pain and suffering. The amount of compensation you are entitled to depends on many factors, including the severity and permanence of the injury.
Note that the the behaviour of the victim also affects the amount of compensation. A common example is disregarding a “Beware of Dog” sign while visiting a neighbour’s house. If that dog were to attack you, your neighbour would still be liable for some damages, but the court may consider you to be 10% negligent in disobeying the sign. Thus, your damages would be reduced by 10%.
If you have been bitten by a dog, the first thing to do is seek medical attention. As soon after the attack as possible, obtain the dog owner’s name. In order to be properly compensated, you must be able to identify the dog owner’s name and address.
Next, contact your local animal control department to report the incident. They will launch an investigation, and ensure that if the dog poses a danger to the public, appropriate measures are taken.
It is a good idea to take photographs of your injuries, noting who took the photos, the date and time – and keep all of the originals.
Be sure to contact us if require any assistance.
Elaine Bright is a personal injury lawyer with Pace Law Firm in Kenora.