An Ottawa Lawyer Weighs in on the Important Steps You Should Take When it Comes to Dog Bites
Your dog is a member of your family. He plays well with your children, is gentle and loving to guests who pay you a visit, and would never hurt a fly…until one day he does. You know that you and your family would never wilfully endanger anyone, stranger or otherwise, and you are devastated and horrified that your dog, acting out of character, has bitten someone. The fact of the matter is, according to the Dog Owner’s Liability Act (DOLA) of Ontario, you are liable for your dog’s behaviour and any damage or injury it may have caused.
There’s a lot of advice out there about what to do if you’re the victim of a dog bite, but there isn’t quite as much advice about what you should do if it’s your dog who has bitten or attacked someone. While an Ottawa dog bite lawyer typically spends a lot of time ensuring that victims of dog bites get the compensation that they deserve, they can also help you understand the many important things there are to take into consideration in a situation like this.
Determine if your dog was provoked
Firstly, your Ottawa dog bite lawyer wants you to know that if your dog attacks a person who is committing a crime, or intends on committing a crime on your property, you will not be held liable.
There are also some other cases in which the amount of damages awarded to a victim can be reduced because of something called contributory negligence. Basically this means that the court determines that the dog bite victim acted in a way that makes them partially responsible for the injury. Usually this happens when the person provoked the dog in question to act violently. So if you believe that your dog was provoked, speak with an Ottawa dog bite lawyer about what you should do.
At the scene of the attack
Whether or not your dog was provoked, there are a few things that Ottawa dog bite lawyers suggest you do at the scene of the attack. Firstly, you should stay calm, and be kind to the victim; after all, they have just suffered a potentially traumatizing event. If medical attention is necessary, ensure that the victim gets the treatment he or she needs. Provide your name and contact information to the victim willingly, and collect the contact information of any eye witnesses. You should avoid making statements that could be used against you at a later date.
Following the attack
The victim will ultimately decide whether they will obtain an Ottawa dog bite lawyer and pursue a case against you, so you should be prepared in the event that they decide to go forward. Dog bite law in Ontario states that they may be eligible for monetary damages, but the amount, as well as any additional orders, will be determined by a court or settled with the help of an Ottawa dog bite lawyer. In the days following the attack, you should also review your home insurance policy, since some policies cover these damages.
Most importantly, Ottawa dog bite lawyers advise that you ensure your dog is no longer a danger to you, your family, or anyone else. For the sake of everyone involved, do everything that you can to ensure that this does not happen a second time.