If you have been attacked or bitten by a dog, contact our Vancouver personal injury lawyers to discuss your options. You could be entitled to claim compensation for the physical and psychological trauma you have suffered.
Dog bite injuries
Dog bites can result in life-changing injuries. Even a shallow bite is associated with the risk of infection. A savage mauling can lead to permanent disfigurement, along with the need for reconstructive surgery and ongoing treatment. Dog attacks can even be fatal.
Along with the physical injuries, a dog bite can cause long-term psychological damage. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is common amongst dog bite victims. Many also develop a life-long phobia of dogs.
What to do after a dog bite
If you or your child is bitten by a dog, there are certain things you should do. After getting medical attention, we recommend that you –
- Get the name and contact details of the owner
- Get the names and contact details of any witnesses who saw the attack
- Note down the details of the incident while they are fresh in your mind, including the location, the dog’s appearance and what happened
- Take photos of your injuries
- Report the incident to Animal Control
- Contact a personal injury lawyer to discuss a dog bite claim
Dog bite claims
If you are bitten by a dog, you may have grounds to make a personal injury compensation claim. There are two possible legal arguments you can pursue.
Firstly, there is a law in British Columbia known as the ‘one bite rule’. This basically means that a dog can bite a human once. After this, the owner should be aware of its potential danger and take steps to minimise the risk. If a dog bites a human again, the dog owner will be liable for allowing it to happen. This is called ‘scienter’ in law, which means knowledge of wrongdoing.
Secondly, even if a dog has not displayed signs of violent behaviour before, you may be able to argue that the owner was negligent. This applies where the owner does not take reasonable care to prevent harm. For instance, you might have been bitten by a dog who was off-leash, even though you were in an on-leash area. Or maybe the owner failed to properly contain the dog.
What happens when I make a claim?
Lots of people are worried about making a claim for a dog bite. They fear that the owner cannot afford it, or that the dog will be put down.
Typically, the dog owner has insurance in place which covers the cost of legal action. So, if you are awarded compensation, the insurer will pay out – not the owner. What happens is that your personal injury lawyer collects the evidence and presents your case to the insurer. Your lawyer will then enter into negotiations to ensure you are properly compensated for your physical, emotional and financial damages.
Animal Control will also carry out an investigation to determine whether the dog is a danger to the public. The dog will not necessarily be put down.
Dog bite lawyers Vancouver
Have you been bitten by a dog? Contact our dog bite lawyers Vancouver to discuss your options. We can explain whether or not you are entitled to compensation.