Dog attacks can be life-threatening and may result in serious injuries, disability or death. If you or someone you love has been bitten by an aggressive dog, you may be entitled to compensation for medical expenses, loss of income, and pain and suffering. In this situation, it may be in your best interest to contact a trusted Chatham-Kent dog bite lawyer for help with your claim.
Greg Monforton & Partner’s personal injury lawyers in Chatham-Kent are well-versed in Ontario’s dog bite laws and the responsibility owners have to keep aggressive or dangerous dogs separate from the public. If you believe you have a claim against a negligent dog owner, contact us to schedule a free, no obligation consultation with a Chatham-Kent dog bite lawyer. We will review your claim to help you determine the legal options you have to hold a negligent dog owner liable for your injuries.
For more than 35 years, Greg Monforton & Partners has been dedicated to helping victims of negligence pursue the justice they deserve. Our firm’s founding partner Greg Monforton is an accomplished lawyer who has been selected for inclusion in Best Lawyers in Canada® for every year since 2006, and is a past president of the Ontario Trial Lawyers Association. Our team of dedicated lawyers has the experience and determination you need to pursue the maximum amount of compensation you may be entitled to receive. We work on a contingency fee basis, which means you only have to pays us for representing you if we recover compensation for your claim.
When Owners are Liable for a Dog Bite
In Ontario, dog owners have strict liability in the event of a dog attack. Under the Ontario Dog Owner’s Liability Act, the owner of a dog can be held liable for any resulting damages that occur when the dog bites or attacks another person or domestic animal, according to R.S.O. 1990, c. D. 16, s.2 (1).
This means the dog’s owner can be held liable in any situation where a person or domestic animal is acting lawfully and is bitten by his or her dog. Likewise, when there is more than one owner of a dog, each owner can be held equally liable for the damages suffered by the victim, according to R.S.O 1990, c. D. 16, s. 2 (2).
Furthermore, liability in a dog bite claim does not depend on the owner’s knowledge of the dog’s behaviour. This means the dog’s owner may still be held liable for the victim’s injury even if he or she was not in control of the dog or had no knowledge that the dog was aggressive and could potentially harm others, according to R.S.O. 1990, c. D. 16, s. 2 (3).
However, R.S.O. 1990, c. D. 16, s. 3 (1) states that dog owners are not liable for injuries suffered by an individual who was attacked by the dog while either committing a crime or unlawfully trespassing on the owner’s property. Nevertheless, if it was unreasonable for the dog’s owner to keep the dog on the premises to protect his or her property, the owner can be held liable for the victim’s injuries.
Victims of dog attacks may be entitled to pursue legal action against the dog’s owner when it is alleged that:
- The dog has bitten or attacked a person or domestic animal
- The dog’s behaviour poses a threat to the safety of other people or domestic animals
- The owner did not take reasonable care to prevent the dog from biting or attacking a person or domestic animal, or from acting in a manner that threatens the safety of others
As trusted dog bite lawyers in Chatham-Kent, we are well-versed in the Ontario Dog Owner’s Liability Act and other laws concerning dog bites and attacks. We will thoroughly investigate the circumstances behind your dog attack to help you determine if the dog’s owner is liable for your injuries.
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Contributory Negligence in Dog Bite Cases
There are certain exceptions where the victim can be held liable, or share liability, for the injuries he or she suffered during a dog attack. Under Ontario’s Contributory Negligence Act, the court will examine the actions of both parties involved in a personal injury claim to determine each party’s level of negligence.
If the victim is found to have contributed to causing the dog to attack, the victim will be assigned a per cent of fault based on his or her negligence. This per cent will reduce the amount of compensation he or she is entitled to receive.
For example, if the victim is found to have physically harmed the dog and instigated the attack, he or she may be assigned 40 per cent of the fault. In this situation, the maximum amount of compensation the victim may receive is reduced by 40 per cent.
During our investigation of your claim, we will try to determine the reason behind why the dog attacked you or your loved one. If we find that you may have contributed to causing the attack, we will work to make sure you are not assigned an unfair portion of fault.
Call (866) 320-4770 to find out if you have a case against a negligent dog owner.
Ontario’s Ban on Pit Bulls
Certain dog breeds are considered to be especially aggressive and dangerous to the public. In response, some provinces, including Ontario, have initiated breed restrictions that ban certain breeds of dogs.
In 2005, Ontario passed a law that intended to slowly remove pit bull terriers from the region and cut down on dog bites and attacks. Under the Dog Owners Liability Act, people living in Ontario are prohibited from:
- Owning a pit bull
- Breeding a pit bull
- Abandoning a pit bull in a location other than a pound operated by or on behalf of a municipality or designated body in Ontario
- Transferring a pit bull, whether by sale, gift or other type of exchange
- Allowing a pit bull in his or her possession to stray
- Importing a pit bull into Ontario
- Training a pit bull for fighting
Ontario’s ban on pit bull terriers extends to several types of the breed, including:
- American pit bull terrier
- American Staffordshire terrier
- Staffordshire bull terrier
- Any other dog that has an appearance or physical characteristics that are similar to those of pit bull terriers
If you believe you or someone you love has been bitten or attacked by a pit bull terrier, contact Greg Monforton & Partners to find out your legal options for holding the dog’s owner liable. We are committed to helping you obtain the justice and compensation you deserve after being injured in a dog attack.
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Signs that a Dog is About to Bite
Dogs are often viewed as reliable companions that many people keep as pets or use as service animals. However, dogs can become aggressive when they feel threatened. There are several signs of aggression that you can look for to determine if a dog is about to bite or attack. This includes:
- Becoming still and rigid
- Showing teeth
- Lunging or charging at a person with no contact
- Low, guttural barking that sounds like a threatening growl
- Loud, repetitive barking to warn others from approaching
- Nipping a person, but not leaving bite marks
- Quickly biting a person and lightly puncturing the skin
- Repeatedly biting
- Biting and shaking
Typically, dogs do not follow a specific sequence for signs of aggression, but may display several signs simultaneously. When a dog becomes aggressive, you should react immediately by slowly backing away from the dog while not making eye contact. Also, do not let small children near dogs while they are alone. They may not be able to recognize the signs of an aggressive dog and are at risk of suffering serious dog bite injuries.
Call (866) 320-4770 if you have been bitten by an aggressive dog.
What Causes Dogs to Bite?
There are several reasons that dogs may bite or attack someone. Often, it depends on the treatment the dog has received by its current or past owners. However, dogs may be provoked to bite for the following reasons:
- The dog is scared or has been startled: Dogs can become easily startled or scared. This may lead to the dog becoming aggressive and attacking or biting if it feels threatened.
- The dog is reacting to something: A dog may bite someone as a reaction to a negative event. If a dog finds itself in a stressful situation, it may bite or attack to defend itself or its territory.
- The dog wants to be left alone: When dogs are sick, injured or startled, they often want to be left alone. Dogs will often display warning signs when this occurs. However, dogs may also bite or attack people when these signs are ignored.
- The dog is playing: Dogs often play with each other by nipping or biting the other dog. When a dog becomes overly excited, it may bite as a playful gesture. To prevent this behaviour, dog owners should avoid wrestling or playing rough with their dog.
- The dog has not been socialized: Dogs can become frightened when around large crowds or certain people or animals when they have not been properly socialized. In this situation, the dog may bite or attack as a response to being overwhelmed.
Dog owners have a legal responsibility to ensure their dogs do not attack or pose a threat to other people or animals. Our dog bite lawyers in Chatham-Kent are ready to pursue negligent dog owners who fail to take precautionary steps to prevent their dog from attacking or biting another person.
Complete a Free Case Evaluation form today.
Common Types of Dog Bite Injuries
Dog attacks are often vicious and may cause victims to suffer several types of injuries and medical conditions, some of which include:
- Nerve damage
- Head injuries
- Neck injuries
- Organ perforation
- Soft tissue damage
- Psychological distress, such as post-traumatic stress disorder
- Torn ligaments and tendons
- Fractured bones
- Back injuries
In severe cases, victims of dog attacks can suffer serious injuries that often result in permanent disabilities or disfigurement. Many victims require extensive medical treatment, including surgery and rehabilitation. As a dog bite victim, you or your loved one should strongly consider contacting a dog bite lawyer in Chatham-Kent to discuss filing a claim against the dog’s owner. This may help you receive the compensation you need to pay for your medical treatment, financial losses, and pain and suffering.
Call (866) 320-4770 to find out if you can pursue compensation.
Schedule a Free Consultation with a Chatham-Kent Dog Bite Lawyer
Victims who suffer a dog bite as a result of a dog owner’s negligence may be entitled to pursue compensation for their injuries and financial losses. Greg Monforton & Partners' skilled dog bite lawyers in Chatham-Kent will help you file a claim to recover the justice and maximum compensation you deserve.
Contact us today to schedule a free, no obligation consultation. We will review your claim, including the cause of the attack and your resulting injuries, to help you determine if you can take legal action against the dog’s owner. All of our services are provided at no upfront cost and we only charge you if we help you recover compensation. There is no risk in finding out if you have a case.
Call (866) 320-4770 today to schedule a free consultation.