Injuries from a dog bite can be severe, and the legal system can be difficult to navigate without the help of an experienced personal injury lawyer. Such a lawyer will be able to help you when determining damages in Toronto dog bite cases.
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Types of Damages
When determining damages in Toronto dog bite cases, the court considers three different types:
Pecuniary damages are essentially loss of income, or damages that relate to actual monetary or financial instruments.
Non-pecuniary damages consist of non-monetary considerations, such as pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, etc.
Punitive damages involve a punishment requiring a change in behavior moving forward. These are very rare in Ontario, and they are only awarded when there is especially egregious behavior on the part of the defendant, which is very rare in a dog attack case.
It would have to be an instance where the owner knew or ought to have known that that dog was dangerous and illegal.
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Losses to the injured party can include expenses such as medical care and loss of income, and sometimes additional expenses such as the cost of a housekeeper.
There can also be non-monetary consequences, such as pain and suffering. Essentially, the consequences can include anything lost as a result of the dog bite.
The severity of the injury can directly impact the amount of damages a person is eligible to receive. The more severe the injury the greater compensation one can expect to receive.
With respect to pecuniary damages, which include loss of income and out-of-pocket expenses, this is fairly straightforward. For lost income, typically a letter from an employer is obtained as well as tax records will suffice.
Income documentation is obtained and compared from before and after the accident to come up with a number. In terms of other expenses, this is even more straightforward, where documentation includes bills, receipts, and invoices. When this documentation is produced, the numbers are simply added to reach an equitable amount.
Because these calculations involve relatively simple math, the plaintiffs can do that part easily. The issue is actually obtaining recovery of the calculated number, and lawyers are particularly helpful with respect to future loss of income and future costs of care.
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It is important to note that if a person’s case ends up before a jury, the jury calculates all damages. The lawyers will provide their opinions on what damages should be, but ultimately the jury calculates the award.
To substantiate these damages, lawyers can obtain expert reports and make arguments as to why the plaintiff is entitled to those future pecuniary damages. To show their calculations, lawyers use graphs and amounts displayed on screens to show the judge and jury what the plaintiff’s losses are, page by page and line by line.
When damages are complicated, for example, where statistics are used, a forensic economist or forensic accountant is often employed to explain and illustrate the damages.
Limits on Compensation
Under certain circumstances, a plaintiff may be barred from full recovery. This is typically based on a defense of provocation or other contributory negligence on the part of the plaintiff.
How A Lawyer Can Help
When determining damages in Toronto dog bite cases, it is advisable to retain the services of a dog bite lawyer who has handled dog bite claims previously.