Were you recently injured in a dog bite or attack in Ontario? It is not unusual for someone in your position to feel hesitant about seeking financial recourse. You may feel reticent to hold a dog owner accountable, particularly if you are familiar with the dog and the owner.
Unfortunately, any delay in taking action may jeopardize your chances for a settlement should you face financial repercussions down the road. Below are four things to consider as you decide whether you should file a claim.
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1. You May Face a Long Road to Physical Recovery
Dog bites can lead to infection and other complications. As such, they demand prompt medical attention.
Some of the most serious medical issues associated with dog bites include:
- staph infection;
- soft tissue damage;
- rabies; and
Your long-term treatment may require follow-up care to treat infections or even plastic surgery to address permanent scarring and disfigurement. Your treatments may exceed the bounds of what is covered through Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP) or another health care service. You should not have to do without necessary medical care.
2. You May Require Therapy or Counseling
Dog bites and animal attacks may be associated with anxiety and even post-traumatic stress disorder. You may experience depression, particularly if you suffered serious physical injuries and scarring. These complications can have a profound impact on your quality of life and ability to work and participate in social activities.
You may require short- or long-term counseling to address the emotional repercussions of your attack. You deserve to have a full physical and emotional recovery and should not have to shoulder the financial burden of all necessary treatment.
3. You Are Protected Under Ontario’s Liability Laws
Ontario’s Dog Owners’ Liability Act – R.S.O. 1990, Chapter D.16 – outlines your rights as a victim. The law provides that the dog’s owner is liable for all of your damages. This is true whether or not the owner knew the dog was capable of such aggressive behavior. The owner is liable even if this was the dog’s first incident attacking or biting a person or animal.
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4. You Were Injured Through No Fault of Your Own
The Dog Owners’ Liability Act does provide some exceptions to liability. For instance, you may not be protected if the owner can prove you contributed to the attack, such as provoking the dog or trespassing at the time of the attack. However, if you were behaving with reasonable caution and within the bounds of the law, you have the right to seek damages.
Ready to initiate a claim? Here are Your Next Steps
Ensure you have reported the attack to the proper authorities, including local animal control officers. Collect any evidence associated with your attack (medical records, photos of your injuries). If you suffered serious injuries, refrain from speaking to an insurance company representative about settlement until you have secured a personal injury lawyer.
Learn more about your options for seeking compensation after a dog bite attack in Ontario. Contact the Preszler Law Firm to schedule a free case evaluation – 1-800-JUSTICE®.