According to Health Canada, the majority of injuries associated with dog bites are sustained in children aged 5 to 9 years old (29%). Not only do many of these attacks result in injuries that require stitches, rabies shots, and in extreme cases, plastic surgery, but they can also leave a child with mental trauma. The effect of a dog bite sustained by a young child versus the same bite on an adult can be more dangerous. It’s important not to take these situations lightly. As a parent, your primary concern is your child’s well-being, and overcoming a situation where your child is injured can be overwhelming. According to an Ottawa dog bite lawyer, here are the steps you should take following a dog bite incident:
1. Seek medical attention. Even if the bite only results in a small cut, you should always seek medical attention. If the dog is not up to date on its shots, even a small scratch could pose a serious risk for infection and disease. While this is usually any parent’s first reaction anyways, as an Ottawa dog bite lawyer explains, it is also actually your duty to mitigate any damages sustained by your child.
2. Talk to the owner. Statistics have indicated that in the majority of dog bite cases the victim is familiar with the dog. This should make it easy to identify the owner and collect his or her home owner’s insurance information.
3. Know the by-laws. Dog bite laws may differ across a municipal and provincial level, so it’s important to know the codes and bylaws in your area. In Ottawa, regulations can be found under the Dog Owner’s Liability Act (DOLA).
4. Know the law. If you have decided to pursue a claim through an Ottawa dog bite lawyer, it’s important to become familiar with the factors that will affect your case. For example, it’s important to understand “provocation”. In some cases provocation, or the engagement of aggressive behavior such as pulling on the dog’s tail, can be used as a defense to overturn the owner’s liability.
However, when it comes to children provocation can become a grey area, because in some cases the child is too young to form intent and understand the risk of unintentional provocation. Knowing the law will help as you gather facts and evidence for your case.
Though a dog bite can be an overwhelming situation for parents, staying and calm and knowing what to do will help mitigate damage and get the most out of your claim. For more information on filing a dog bite claim for your child, contact an Ottawa dog bite lawyer today.