Ontario’s Dog Owners’ Liability Act protects you and/or your children in the event of a serious dog bite injury. The Act outlines the circumstances under which you can pursue compensation from a negligent dog owner. Such money can be used to address your or your child’s medical and emotional needs, such as corrective surgery or counseling.
Unfortunately, compensation is not guaranteed, even after a severe dog bite or attack. An owner may shirk responsibility by using a common defense tactic, such as claiming you were trespassing at the time of the attack or denying their dog was involved. This is why you must take swift action after such an incident even if the dog belonged to a neighbor or someone you know.
According to a five-year study conducted by the University of Alberta, in children dog bites the mean age was seven years old and the most frequently bitten area was the face. Securing financial and psychological recovery for anyone, especially a child, should begin immediately. The four steps below serve to protect your rights to fair financial and medical recovery after an act of negligence.
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Step One: Seek Prompt Medical Attention
Dog bite injuries carry a serious risk of infection and scarring. Even a seemingly minor wound can harbor harmful bacteria or viruses. Seek prompt medical attention and keep in contact with doctors for follow-up care.
Maintain records of all medical treatments and the progression of your injuries. For instance, photographs of a bite wound can be used to assess the area for scarring or disfiguration.
Step Two: Report the Attack/Bite
Once you have secured medical treatment you must report the dog bite or attack to the proper authorities. This may include a phone call to local police who can advise on the proper point of contact. If the attack occurred in Toronto, for instance, you should report the bite to Toronto Animal Services: (416) 338-7297.
Provide as many details about the attack as possible, such as:
- description of the dog;
- owner names and contact information;
- time and location of the attack; and
- witness information.
Reporting the attack allows authorities to detain and evaluate the dog for health risks, such as rabies and other diseases. It also provides a crucial component of evidence: an official report of the attack.
Step Three: Secure Evidence of the Attack
A dog bite claim requires evidence, such as:
- photos of injuries;
- witness testimony;
- proof of ownership;
- police report; and
- medical records.
A dog bite lawyer can assist you in the collection of such evidence before it becomes difficult or impossible to obtain. It’s important to get started early to preserve evidence so it’s available to use when filing a claim.
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Step Four: Take Steps to Protect Your Rights to Compensation
Schedule a free case evaluation with a lawyer who has handled numerous dog bite cases in Ontario. Your dog bite lawyer can assume all aspects of your case, from the collection of evidence to answering the defense’s claims against you. Call the Preszler Law Firm at 1-800-JUSTICE® or contact us online to schedule a free case evaluation today.