Things to Consider When Hiring a Dog Bite Accident Lawyer
A dog is man’s best friend, but when some dogs are provoked, threatened, or scared, they can bite. Most of the time the injury sustained heals quickly, without causing any long-term health of psychological issues. Sadly, sometimes the injuries are more serious.
If you or a loved one suffers a dog bite or is hurt due to a dog attack, it is wise to consult with a dog bite lawyer. However, you need to do a little research to make sure that you hire the right one for the job. These cases can get quite complicated, so experience matters.
Ontario Law on Dog Bites
The first thing to understand is how liability works in dog attack cases. It does not matter what the circumstances are in the eyes of the law the pet owner is considered to be liable for their dog’s actions. However, if the victim is found to have provoked the dog, the amount of compensation that is awarded will be reduced.
Victims of dog bites and attacks can claim compensation for all of their expenses and suffering. The list includes their:
- Medical costs – this includes follow up care and all medications as well as the cost of the initial treatment.
- Surgery costs – if reconstructive surgery is needed those costs are covered. That is the case even if several surgeries are required and implants or other materials are used.
- Treatment of the scar – once you are healed if there is a scar, the cost of removing it completely is covered, which includes plastic surgery.
- Pain and suffering – being bitten by a dog can be a traumatic experience, so you can claim compensation for any mental anguish or emotional trauma. That includes PTSD or receiving counselling should you develop a phobia of dogs
- Lost wages – If you need to take time off of work to recover from your injuries or are no longer able to carry out your trade as you did before being bitten, you can claim compensation for this. Should your injuries lead to your not being able to work as you did before the attack you can claim compensation for that type of loss too.
What to Do After the Dog Bite Incident
The way you respond when bitten by a dog or another animal can have a significant impact on the outcome of any claim. As well as how well you recover from your injuries. This checklist will help you to react in the right way.
Dog bites can be serious. Should the teeth pierce the skin, there is a substantial risk of infection. If the bite is deeper veins can be broken, the flesh is torn, or bones are broken. So, you need to:
- Stop any bleeding
- Apply first aid
- Wash the bite with soap and water provided it is not too deep
- Apply antiseptic if the bite is not deep
- Seek medical attention quickly for bites that have torn or punctured the skin
It is important to document the attack. The sooner you do it the better your memory will be and the more evidence you will be able to gather. This is important because the more evidence you provide your lawyer with the stronger your compensation claim will be. You need to:
- Take photos of your injuries, the dog, its owner and witnesses as well as the scene
- Make a note of the location, date, and time
- Obtain the dog owner’s name and address
- Ask and witnesses for their contact details
- Make a note of the people who provided you with medical attention and what they say about your injuries
As soon as you can do so, call the Toronto Public Health office and the Toronto Animal Services. If the incident happens outside of Toronto, call the equivalent office or animal services center. It is wise to ask for the name of the person you are speaking to. In some cases, you may be given a reference number, if you are, make a note of it.
Consult with a dog bite lawyer
Once you have done all of this you will be in a position to contact a dog bite lawyer. The sooner you do the better it will be for your case. Your lawyer will sort out pulling together the evidence you give them and gleaning more information from the authorities, your doctors, and any witnesses.
Considerations When Hiring a Dog Bite Lawyer
- The lawyer’s experience – ideally, you want a lawyer that specializes in dog bite claims, one that has dealt with as many of them as possible.
- The lawyer’s track record – experience is not always enough, you need a lawyer that wins, so check out their track record. You can find reviews online. Focus on those written by people who have been bitten in similar circumstances to you.
- A good communicator – once you have narrowed down your options speak to the lawyer’s office. This gives you a chance to find out if they are responsive and make sure you are hiring someone who listens properly. As well as a lawyer who you find it easy to communicate with and understand.
Dog bite cases can get complicated. Choose a dog bite lawyer from Diamond & Diamond to make sure you get expert legal advice and representation.
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PRO TIP :
“Gauge a dog bite lawyer’s experience and knowledge by asking them about the factors that can affect the compensation awarded to dog bite claims.”
Does it matter where the dog attack took place?
It doesn’t matter where the dog attack took place, or what the circumstances were, you should still speak to a lawyer. They will assess your claim and let you know if you will be able to sue for damages.
Who is liable if a dog bit me while inside a vet’s clinic?
If a dog bites you inside a vet’s clinic the owner may still be held partially responsible. In particular if it is an aggressive dog that has not undergone training. But other factors will be considered. For example, if the dog was not properly restrained and kept away from people while in the care of the vet, they may be held partially responsible. Likewise, if you provoked the dog, you may also be found to bear some responsibility for what happened.
Are dog bite lawyers also knowledgeable in other animal attack claims?
Dog bite lawyers are quite knowledgeable when it comes to other animal attack claims. There are quite a few similarities between how these and dog attack cases are handled. However, if you can find a lawyer that has dealt with a case like yours before, it is worth speaking to them too.