Dog bite victims often suffer serious physical and emotional repercussions. If you have been injured in an animal attack in Ontario, you do not have to suffer in silence. There are legal resources available to you in the fight for justice and fair financial compensation. Toronto dog bite lawyers are here to help.
You may be eligible to pursue compensation for medical bills, lost wages and other costs associated with your dog bite injury. Our skilled Toronto personal injury lawyers have helped numerous dog bite victims in the course of our 60 years of service. We understand your concerns and can help to guide you on the road to recovery.
Steps to Take After a Dog Attack
Statistics demonstrate the frequency of dog bite attacks in the province. Reports from the Local Medical Officers of Health show that in 2009, more than 5,000 dog bites occurred in Ontario.
Many of these bites and attacks can be attributed to owner negligence and a lack of sufficient training. Regardless of cause, the Dog Owner’s Liability Act asserts the dog owner is the party at fault in a dog bite attack.
The Ontario government established the Dog Owner’s Liability Act to protect public safety and the victims of dog bite attacks. The law stipulates that the owner of a dog is “liable for damages resulting from a bite or attack by the dog on another person or domestic animal.” If the dog in question has more than one owner, they share liability for the attack.
If the attack occurred in the GTA, report the dog bite to the Toronto Animal Services by calling 416-338-7297. Once someone has alerted the proper authorities, they should take the steps necessary to protect their right to financial recovery by consulting with a Toronto dog bite lawyer.
Possible Dog Bite Injuries
Dog bite injuries can lead to severe infections and costly long-term health complications. Some of the potential complications of a dog bite injury can include:
- Fractures from falling
- Sepsis (blood infection)
- Endocarditis (infection of cardiac tissue)
- Meningitis (infection of brain tissue)
- Emotional trauma/post-traumatic stress disorder
- Muscular damage
Dog bites can be lethal. An attack necessitates prompt medical attention. Even a “minor” wound can become severely infected. Toronto Animal Services recommends seeking immediate medical attention in the event of a dog bite injury.
Individuals should keep detailed records of their medical care and progression of injuries. This information is critical in a dog bite claim. A lawyer will investigate the details of the attack and medical care to build a claim that addresses the full extent of a dog-bite victim’s injuries.
Damages in a Dog Bite Claim
We often see after-effects of psychological harm in our clients after an injury, particularly with dog bites. Sometimes dog attacks cause people to be afraid of dogs. This fear can even cause people to be afraid to walk on the street, as there might be many dogs out there. Physical injuries typically heal, and people can get on with their lives, but the psychological trauma is what typically impacts people the most.
In Toronto, there are two different types of damages available: general damages and special damages. General damages deal with pain and suffering, which anyone attacked and injured by a dog should be able to receive. Special damages deal with loss of income or added expenses as a result of the attack. These are what lawyers call pecuniary claims.
If a dog-bite victim does not have any additional expenses as a result of their injuries and/or does not work and thus has no loss of income, then he or she might not be eligible to receive compensation for special damages.
Establishing Dog Bite Liability in Toronto
Let’s go back to the Dog Owner’s Liability Act for a moment. Liability is not contingent upon whether or not the dog’s owner knew the dog was prone to attack or aggression prior to its attack. Further, it does not require that the owner has acted in a negligent manner.
The charges may be reduced, however, if it can be proved that someone’s own actions and negligence contributed to the attack (for example, provoking a dog or trespassing on the dog owner’s property).
The Dog Owner’s Liability Act is beneficial in establishing fault in a dog bite attack claim, but it does not guarantee compensation. A dog bite lawyer in Toronto can talk to their client about holding a dog owner financially responsible for their actions and what to expect in their claim.
Contact a Toronto Dog Bite Lawyer
Dog bites or attacks can not only be painful, but potentially life-altering and traumatizing. Many people may be dog lovers at heart when they are bitten by a dog, but they shouldn’t be stuck footing the bill for their injuries when a dog owner may have been liable for their dog’s actions.
A good Toronto dog bite lawyer can talk to you about your options for financial recovery after a serious dog bite attack. Contact us today to learn more about your rights to fair compensation.