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Ontario Dog Bite Laws – Can I Sue If A Dog Bites Me?

Sometimes, bad things happen to good people, which is why dog bites in Ontario are governed by the Dog Owners’ Liability Act (DOLA). Under the DOLA, the biting dog’s owner is automatically liable for damages resulting from such incidents.

Ontario’s personal injury lawyers can help you through the personal injury process, to make sure you get fair compensation for your injuries.

What should I do if I am bitten by a dog?

In Ontario, if you are bitten by a dog, get the name of the dog’s owner and immediate proper medical care for yourself.  Report the details of the incident as soon as possible to your local Health Unit , Animal Control and/or the police.   Take detailed photos of your injuries, including those to the face, neck and hands, which are often a dog’s target areas.

As the dog bite victim, you are not required to prove that the dog owner was negligent in order to recover damages.  All you have to establish is that 1) you were bitten or attacked; and 2) that the dog was owned by the defendant.   An exception to a dog owner’s liability is if the victim was bitten or attacked by a dog protecting the owner’s property during the commission of a crime.

How does the court determine damages?

When calculating damages, the court will  first look at the usual factors, such as the severity of your injuries as well as the impact of these injuries on your day to day life, including any time off work.  Under the DOLA , any damage award will then be reduced by the degree to which your own fault or negligence contributed to the damages.  An example of a victim’s contributory negligence might include kicking or teasing the dog just prior to the attack. If you are the owner of a dog who has bitten someone else, and you have concerns about your liability, see our previous post Ontario Dog Bite Laws – When Your Best Friend is in the Doghouse

Dog bites are generally covered by the owner’s home insurance policy so it is not uncommon for the owner to simply pass any notice letters on to their insurance company.

Ontario’s personal injury lawyers can help you with every step of the civil litigation process to make sure you get fair compensation for your dog bite injuries.
Call us today at 1-800-563-6348 to speak to an Ontario personal injury lawyer directly for a free, no-obligation consultation.


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