Ontario law pertaining to dog bites is very clear and very simple, but sometimes the complexities of a specific case can still make it confusing for those involved. Anytime a dog has bitten or attacked someone, the accident victim should speak to a London dog bite lawyer that can help them with their case. In some instances, a bite or attack does not even need to occur for reparations to be made.
If you have been the unfortunate victim in a case like this, you should contact a London, Ontario dog bite lawyer right away to fight for your right to compensation. A skilled personal injury lawyer with experience in a variety of injury cases can help you present your best case.
Our dog bite lawyers can meet with you in London for a free initial consultation. Call 1-877-573-3563
Ontario’s Dog Owner’s Liability Act
Dog bites fall under the provision of Ontario’s Dog Owner’s Liability Act, also known as DOLA. Under Section 2.1 of the Act, 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.” This means that under the Act, a dog owner is responsible for the behaviour of their dog. In Ontario, this liability is referred to as strict liability, meaning that under most circumstances, the dog owner will be held automatically responsible.
Ontario does not have a “one bite rule” that allows dogs one bite or attack before the owner is held responsible. Even if the dog has never displayed aggressive or violent before, the dog owner will be held liable any time the dog bites or attacks and injuries result.
Strict liability also means that the victim does not need to prove that the dog owner was negligent. So even when the dog owner has properly supervised their dog and acted in a perfectly reasonable manner, they will still be held responsible any time their dog bites or attacks a person or another domestic animal, such as another dog while at a dog park.
Although dog owners are generally considered to be held liable any time their dog bites, regardless of the circumstances, there are some exceptions to the rule. For this reason, it is important that dog bite victims speak to a dog bite lawyer in London, Ontario that can help them with their case.
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Exceptions to Strict Liability
While strict liability does mean that dog owners will be held automatically liable any time their dog bites or attacks someone, there are two exceptions.
The first is that in circumstances when the dog bite victim has provoked the dog into biting them, such as taunting them or displaying aggressive behaviour, the victim may be held partly responsible. In these instances, the dog owner will also be held responsible but under the legal concept of contributory negligence, they will not need to pay the full amount of compensation they would be responsible for if the dog had not been provoked.
The other exception to strict liability is when the dog bite victim was trespassing on a person’s property. If the trespasser is bitten by a dog in these instances, the dog owner is generally not found to be liable in any way.
The Occupier’s Liability Act
While most dog bite cases will fall under the provisions of DOLA, a few may fall under the Occupier’s Liability Act. Under this Act, property owners, or those occupying the property, are required by law to keep those entering onto the property safe at all times.
When they fail to do so and their dog has injured another person in a way that did not involve a bite or attack, the property owner will still be held liable.
For instance, if someone visited the home of their friend who was a dog owner, and the dog ruined their expensive pair of shoes, the dog owner can still be held responsible for repaying that expense.
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Contacting a London, Ontario Dog Bite Lawyer
If you have been injured by a dog in London or its surrounding areas, it is important you speak to an experienced London dog bite lawyer that can help. Compensation can be sought, and a lawyer will be able to help you achieve the full amount you are entitled to.