With millions of dogs living in the country, Canada is experiencing a rise in dog bites and attacks, despite the prohibition of obtaining dog breeds prone to violence. For dog owners this means that, now more than ever, they should be aware of their rights and the laws of liability in case of such attacks and bites.
What Responsibility Does The Owner Have?
As stated in the Ontario Dog Owner’s Liability Act, the owner will be held responsible for their dog’s actions in the vast majority of cases since it is their duty to put reasonable effort into keeping their dogs from harming others at all times.In the past, the so called “one bite rule” prevented victims of dog bites from obtaining compensation in a large sum of cases. This was because the victims had been forced to prove the dog’s owner was knowledgeable of their animal’s violent tendencies. Oftentimes, this could only be achieved by presenting evidence of past attacks or biting incidents.
This rule has been abandoned, however, so that now, the victim only needs to prove that the attack occurred. Once the dog owner has been identified, the victim is then entitled to compensation for their sustained injuries.
What Can Reduce Compensation For The Victim?
There is really only one instance in which a judge will potentially rule against the victim and in favor of the dog and its owner. That instance is provocation. If it is discovered that the victim went up to the dog and start provoking it continuously then the judge may significantly reduce compensation or even fully deny the claim.
This is because the victim would have actively caused the attack which otherwise would most likely not have occurred. Their injuries would have been caused by their own actions without outside influence. However, Personal Injury Lawyer in Oakville knows that even if provocation was the reason for the attack, it would still ultimately be up to the judge to decide how much compensation, if any, the victim is entitled to. If it is only the fault of the victim as he/she was teasing or provoking the dog, there might be no compensation, but if the dog was aggressive and victim didn’t do anything, the owner is liable to pay for compensation.
What Immediate Action Should Dog Owners Take?
Most importantly, the owner should do everything in their power to prevent further harm from being inflicted upon the victim of the bite or attack. If injuries have already been sustained, they should call for medical assistance right away. Furthermore, they should obtain all contact information from the victim, as well as any potential bystanders. Witnesses will most likely be called upon later on once the victim has filed their claim for compensation.