We often think of dogs as man’s best friend, but dogs are not always the sweet, friendly creatures they are made out to be. Dogs can suddenly attack without warning, and the results can be disastrous. Dog bites can cause deep lacerations, muscle and nerve injuries, infections, scarring and, in the most severe cases, even death.
Fortunately, fatalities from dog bites are not common in Canada. Between 1990 and 2007, there were 28 deaths from dog attack injuries, which means the country averages one or two deaths per year.
Any type of dog can bite. No dog is immune. Even your family pet can bite you. The breeds of dogs that are most likely to bite include pit bulls, Chihuahuas, bulldogs, Australian shepherds, German shepherds, Lhasa Apsos, bull terriers, cocker spaniels, papillons, and Pekingese.
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Why Do Dogs Bite?
Even the friendliest dogs can bite for a variety of reasons. Dogs can bite when they want to protect their territory and are threatened by another dog, another animal, or a human. They may also bite to protect their puppies, food, or toys.
It is also common for dogs to bite when they want to be left alone. If they are sore, injured, or otherwise not feeling well, they may bite someone who is trying to bother them. Dogs may be provoked to bite when they are teased or harassed by children. Sometimes dog bites are accidental. Puppies are very mouthy and may be a little too rough with their owners. Even older dogs can sometimes get a little too aggressive during playtimes, such as when playing with balls, sticks, ropes, and other objects.
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Who Is Liable for a Dog Bite?
Understanding dog bite laws in Canada is also important so you know how to recover compensation to pay for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and other damages caused by a dog bite. Canada dog bite laws are governed by scienter, which is a legal doctrine that refers to a person’s knowledge that something is wrong, yet they allowed the act to occur anyway. When using scienter, the court must be able to prove that the defendant knew that the alleged misconduct was wrong.
For a dog owner to be liable for a dog bite, he or she must be aware of the fact that the dog had a tendency to bite someone or had bitten someone in the past. As the dog bite victim, you have the burden of proof, so this is up to you and your lawyer to prove in order to obtain compensation.
To accuse the dog owner of liability, you must be able to successfully prove three elements:
- The person you are suing is the owner of the dog that bit you.
- The dog has a tendency to bite or otherwise act dangerously.
- The owner of the dog was aware of the dog’s inclination to behave in a dangerous manner.
What this means is that if a dog had never shown any inclination to hurt anyone, then the dog owner would not be held liable for the first dog bite. Essentially, the dog gets one free bite. However, once it has been proven that the dog has bitten someone, the dog owner gets no second chances. If they allow the dog to attack someone again, they would then be considered liable for any damages.
If you have been injured by a dog bite, do not take any chances. Seek medical help right away, then call the experienced Stirling dog bite lawyers at Preszler Law Firm. We can assess the incident and apply the laws of scienter to your case. Our firm boasts more than 60 years of experience helping personal injury victims recover the compensation they deserve for their injuries. Schedule a free consultation today by calling 1-800-JUSTICE.
Complications from Dog Bites
Dog bites can cause serious illnesses. Rabies is rare, but it is the most serious, often causing death. If you have been bitten by a dog, the doctor may opt to give you a rabies vaccine. This decision is based on several factors, such as the dog’s vaccination status and whether or not rabies is prevalent in the area. It will also be determined whether the attack was provoked or unprovoked since rabid animals are more likely to attack when unprovoked.
Dogs’ mouths contain numerous types of bacteria, such as Pasteurella, MRSA, and tetanus. These bacteria can cause infections, inflammation, joint problems, weakened immune systems, and even paralysis. Infections are most common when the dog bites a hand or finger since it is harder for the body to fight infections in these areas. Bites that do not break the skin are not at risk for infection.
A deep bite can lead to nerve and muscle damage. Smaller puncture wounds can also cause significant damage. Scarring is also a concern with dog bites. A dog bite will often tear at the skin, causing lifelong scars that do minimize over time. However, dog bites to the face and neck can be disfiguring and be a source of embarrassment and low self-esteem for the victim. In severe cases, plastic surgery or grafting may be needed.
Emotional damages are also a concern. A dog bite victim can develop a fear of dogs. They may even experience post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and have constant flashbacks of the dog bite incident. This can affect their sleep habits, schooling, work. and other aspects of everyday life.
Unfortunately, death is also a complication with dog bites. The children and elderly are most likely to suffer fatalities from dog bites. The good news is that dog bite deaths are rare in Canada.
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Speak with an Experienced Dog Bite Lawyer
Dog bites can be serious, causing injuries, scarring, disfigurement, and even death. Having to live with the effects of such an injury can be humiliating for a victim.
The dog bite lawyers at Preszler Law Firm can assess your case and help you obtain the compensation you deserve. We can see if the laws of negligence apply in your case and inform you of your options for recovery. Fill out the online form or call our office at 1-800-JUSTICE to schedule a consultation.