What You Need to Know About Dog Bites and Launching a Lawsuit for a Dog Bite

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What You Need to Know About Dog Bites and Launching a Lawsuit

If you are considering launching a lawsuit for a dog bite, it’s important to contact a personal injury lawyer.

Who is Responsible for a Dog Bite?

There are many reasons why a dog may bite someone. They include fear, aggression, territoriality, sickness, pain, poor socialization and provocation. Whether the dog that bit you is familiar to you or a stranger, the dog should be under the control of its owner at all times. A dog bite or attack can cause serious harm in the form of permanent injuries, physical or emotional scarring and even death.
According to Ontario’s Dog Owner’s Liability Act (DOLA), the owner of the dog is legally and financially responsible for any damage to property or injury to people caused by their dog. This is referred to as "strict liability” in Ontario. This means that the dog owner is responsible for paying you damages, even if he/she acted completely reasonably. If the dog is jointly owned, then both owners are responsible and can be sued for damages.
The owner of the property may also be liable for damages if you can prove that the property owner assumed responsibility for their property and the animal at the time. For example, a negligent landlord who allows dangerous dogs on a rental property may be liable if those dogs attack someone.
If you’ve provoked the dog, you may find that your damages are reduced because of contributory negligence. This only happens if the court finds that you are somehow partially responsible for the attack or bite. If the victim is your child, then the court looks at whether the child was properly supervised at the time of the attack.

What to Do if You’ve Been Bitten

In addition to seeking medical help, there are a few essential actions that you need to take at the time of the incident. You need to gather the names and phone numbers of any witnesses. An independent witness will be able to verify your account of the incident since the dog owner may deny that it was his or her dog who attacked.
It’s also important to take pictures of the bite(s) as soon as possible. As you heal, continue to take photos. These can help document how painful the bite is, how it may have interfered with your work and any permanent injury such as scarring.
You also need to find out the name of the dog owner. This is easy to do if it’s the dog of a friend or a neighbour, but this can be a harder task if the dog was running loose or if the owner refuses to give you their personal information. Again, ask for witness information. Call the police, the local health department and the local by-law enforcement office. The bite needs to be reported and there’s a chance that one of these offices may be able to help you identify the dog and its owner.
Finding the owner is important since you need to know if the dog has up-to-date rabies shots. Another person who may be able to find the dog is a personal injury lawyer. Using investigative technique, your lawyer can help you find the owner so that you can continue with your lawsuit for the dog bite.

What You Need to Know About Dog Bites and Launching a Lawsuit for a Dog Bite

Filing a Lawsuit for a Dog Bite in Toronto


It can be an extremely horrifying experience when a dog attack occurs and you are injured in the process. It is important to hire a lawyer and to file a lawsuit to protect yourself and others from a similar scenario happening again.


What to Do When a Dog Bites


There are steps that you should take as soon as possible after a dog bite has occurred:


If the bite breaks the skin, you should:


  • Call 911 if the bite is serious
  • Report the bite to 311
  • Provide a description of the dog
  • Ask for the dog owner’s name and address
  • Write down the location, time and date of the attack
  • Get information from anyone that witnessed the event
  • Take a photo of the injury
  • Make notes on what happened as soon as you can


If the bite does not break the skin, you should:


  • Call 311 to provide a clear description of the dog
  • Let them know the location, date and time of the attack
  • Give them any further information from the witnesses, if possible


These are steps to take directly after the dog bite occurs, but you should call a lawyer to help you file a lawsuit for the dog bite that you endured. It’s important to protect yourself and others from a dangerous animal.  Make sure that you receive fair compensation for your injuries in the process.



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