Dog bites are traumatic experiences. Not only can victims acquire lasting injuries and disfiguring scars, but they can also develop a fear of dogs. These conditions can leave victims with pain, debilitating anxiety, and shame.
At Preszler Law, we understand the delicacy of your situation and have compassion for what you are going through. We have settled countless cases involving dog bites and maulings. While we cannot take away your pain, we can ease your legal burden by offering you over five decades of legal experience. We want to help you recover physically, emotionally, and financially by getting you the maximum compensation allowed under the law.
What should I do if I was bitten or injured by a dog?
A dog bite can leave the victim feeling shaken and unsure of what to do next. If you or a loved one was bitten or injured by a dog, follow these steps to protect your health and any legal claim you might have to recover compensation for your damages.
• Seek immediate medical attention if necessary.
• Call the police and make a report.
• Get the contact information of the dog owner.
• Gather the contact information of any witnesses.
• Write down information about the incident – dog’s appearance, location, etc.
• Take pictures of your injuries.
• Report the incident to Animal Control by calling 3-1-1.
Who is legally responsible for my injuries?
If you have been injured by a dog you may be eligible to file a claim against the dog owner.
Under the legal doctrine of scienter, a dog owner may not be liable for a dog bite if the dog had never bitten somebody or had never shown a propensity to attack in the past. If you can establish that the dog owner knew of the dog’s propensity to bite, then the owner may be liable for the bite. If you are pursuing a claim under this doctrine, you must prove the following three conditions:
1. the defendant is the owner of the dog that bit you;
2. the dog has an inclination or tendency to behave dangerously; and
3. the dog owner was aware of the dog’s inclination or tendency to behave dangerously.
If you can prove the three conditions for scienter, then the dog owner will almost always be liable for a dog bite. Since scienter requires the dog to have a previous inclination or tendency to behave dangerously, it is sometimes referred to as the “one bite rule” – the dog owner may not be liable for the first attack but will be for any subsequent ones.
Alternatively, you may file a claim even if the dog owner was unaware of the dog’s propensity to bite. All dog owners are responsible for controlling their pets and failure to do so could expose others to bites, maulings, or other injuries. If you are injured by a dog on the dog owner’s property, you may be able to make a claim against the dog owner under the Occupiers Liability Act. If you are injured off of the dog owner’s property you may be able to make a claim against the dog owner in negligence. In such cases, you will need to establish the dog owner ought to have known the dog was likely to create a risk of harm to others and failed to take reasonable care to prevent the harm from occurring.
In addition to dog bites or maulings, owners may be liable if their dog’s actions caused you to trip and fall or be knocked over causing injury.
Dog bite cases are complicated. You should not attempt to navigate the laws on your own. If you were injured by a dog and suffered serious trauma, you should consider enlisting a firm like Preszler Law in Vancouver. Our lawyers focus solely on personal injury cases and understand the claims process thoroughly. We know the evidence required to prove your case and get you the compensation you need to pay for medical expenses and lost income.
What will happen to the dog after I report the bite or attack?
Animal Control officers will investigate each case. If the dog seriously injures someone, Animal Control may request the dog be declared dangerous and may seek to have the dog killed. However, owners are entitled to a hearing in front of a Provincial Court.
Simply reporting a dog bite will not automatically lead to a dog being killed. Animal Control will investigate each case on an individual basis and make a determination.
What if the dog belongs to my neighbour, friend or family member?
All dog bites are troubling, but they can become even more so if you are familiar with the dog or its owner. Some people do not want to sue their friend or neighbour, and therefore will let the matter drop without recovering the compensation they are entitled to under the law.
When you file a claim against the dog owner, however, it is usually the dog owner’s insurance company that is responsible for paying the settlement, not the dog owner personally.
What if the dog owner wants to speak to me about the bite?
Once you have retained our firm, we will ask that any attempts to interview you by the owner of the dog or the insurance company be referred to our office. Part of our representation will be to make sure an lawyer from our office is present when you are being interviewed by the defendant or the insurance company. Doing so protects you from defense strategies designed to minimize your claim.
What if the incident occurred while I was working on someone else’s property?
If you were working on the dog owner’s property when the bite occurred, you may be entitled to compensation. Talk to Preszler Law about the options available to you, such as filing a claim with a homeowner’s insurance policy or filing a workers’ compensation claim.
What if the dog was a stray? Can I still file a dog bite claim?
Unfortunately, if you are unable to locate the dog’s owner, you may be unable to file a claim to recover compensation. However, we still encourage you to contact Preszler Law to explore options that might be available to you.
Schedule a Free Consultation with a Vancouver Dog Bite Lawyer
We know every dog bite injury is unique. Our Vancouver dog bite lawyers have handled all manner of dog bite claims involving injuries such as soft tissue injuries, muscle tears, nerve damage, scarring, disfigurement, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
At Preszler Law, our legal team will work tirelessly to prove scienter or negligence so we can get you the maximum settlement possible under the law. We gather evidence that shows the true story of your case and how your injuries have impacted your life.
Call us at 1-844-373-8202 to schedule your free, initial consultation today.