British Columbia Dog Bite Claim Lawyers
According to a recent survey, almost half of all households in British Columbia are home to at least one domestic pet, and that number is surely on the rise. Over the past few years, the entire country has seen a boom in pet ownership. In fact, since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 900,000 Canadians who had not previously owned any pets welcomed a domestic animal into their homes. Many of the pets being newly adopted are dogs.
Over the last few years, first-time dog ownership has become something of a phenomenon. Currently, 11% of all dog owners throughout the country have had their pet for less than one year.
Owning a dog comes with its share of many responsibilities. New pet owners who have impulsively welcomed domestic animals into their homes might not be fully prepared for the unique challenges of looking after a dog or for the level of responsibility dog ownership requires.
Among a dog owner’s most important responsibilities is the duty to keep other people safe around their pet. Dogs can be dangerous animals, especially if they feel provoked or threatened by people they have not encountered in the past. Dogs who have not been properly socialized have been known to lash out aggressively at perceived strangers. Biting, clawing, mauling, or otherwise attacking people can lead to serious injuries, including permanent disfigurement.
Dog attacks can also be fatal. Infants, toddlers, and small children are particularly vulnerable to fatalities as the result of being bitten or attacked by violent dogs. In recent years, 85% of victims of fatal dog attacks were under the age of 10.
Along with the recent spike in dog ownership, many fear a corresponding increase in bite-related injuries. Indeed, one pediatric hospital reported a recent 300% increase of emergency room visits because of injuries sustained by children in dog attacks.
Being bitten by a dog can be a traumatizing event, especially for small children. The scars that can be left behind are often both physical and psychological, and in many cases, they can last throughout a survivor’s entire lifetime.
Many people who have been attacked by dogs understandably develop severe phobias as well as other mental health concerns that could have adverse effects on their daily lives. Some of the major psychological issues frequently developed by the injured survivors of dog attacks include:
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Sleep disorders
- Panic attacks
- Diminished self-esteem due to physical disfigurement
- Permanent phobias
- And more
In addition to the damage an aggressive dog can do to an attack victim’s mental health, people who have been bitten by dogs can contract serious illnesses that could jeopardize their lives. These life-threatening diseases often include:
- And possibly more
Furthermore, the victims of dog attacks can sustain a number of other physical injuries as a result of being bitten by a violent dog. Because of a dog owner’s failure to restrain their animal or otherwise prevent an attack from occurring, the people bitten by these aggressive animals could require lengthy periods of hospitalization, reconstructive surgeries, prescription drugs, and other expensive medical procedures. Physical injuries often sustained by people who have been bitten or attacked by dogs include:
- Nerve damage
- Broken or fractured bones
- Musculoskeletal injuries
- Sprains and strains
- And more
The injured victims of dog attacks often face long, isolating, and anxiety-ridden roads to recovery. Oftentimes, they are required to pay large sums of money out-of-pocket for necessary medical procedures, psychological treatment, and other damages. They might incur additional financial losses as the result of an inability to return to their jobs as a result of the injuries they have sustained.
But who can be held accountable for the actions of an animal? Do the people who have been bitten or mauled by someone else’s pet need to suffer the further indignity of paying for their resulting expenses themselves?
Our British Columbia dog bite lawyers believe in holding people accountable for their wrongful actions (or inactions). If a negligent dog owner failed to keep you safe from their aggressive animal, you might be entitled to compensation. To learn more, book a free initial consultation with our dog bite lawyers serving British Columbia.
Who is Liable for Damages Caused by Dog Bites?
In order for a pet owner to be considered liable for damages incurred by injured survivors of violent interactions with their dog, their scienter will need to be proven. Scienter is a legal term referring to an individual’s knowledge of their own wrongdoing. For example, if it can be proven that a dog owner knew their pet acted aggressively towards strangers but failed to prevent an attack on a visitor to their home, they might be considered liable for their victim’s damages. In many cases, in order to prove a dog owner’s scienter, evidence of the dog’s history of violence might be required.
This is commonly misperceived as a so-called “one-bite rule.” Many people hold the incorrect belief that an aggressive dog’s owners can receive one “free pass” without being at-fault for the injurious attack because they were hitherto unaware of their pet’s proclivity for violence. This is not the case. A dog owner might be considered to be reasonably cognizant of their dog’s potential to bite humans by observing its behavioural patterns, especially around other people.
Additionally, if the victim was attacked on the dog owner’s property, the aggressive animal’s owner might be considered negligent. That is because, according to the province’s Occupiers’ Liability Act, property owners owe their guests a duty of care. They are required by law to take reasonable precautions to keep their visitors free from harm on their premises. Failing to take preventative measures to keep their aggressive dog away from vulnerable guests could lead to an injurious attack. As a result of their negligence, the at-fault property owner could inadvertently cause their guest a lifetime of physical and psychological injuries. Therefore, they might be responsible for any ensuing damages incurred by the injured attack victim.
Contact Our British Columbia Dog Bite Lawyers Today
If you were bitten by someone else’s dog and sustained compensable injuries as a result, you might be entitled to compensation. In the immediate aftermath of a violent, traumatizing attack with a vicious dog, it can be difficult to know what to do next. Our dog bite lawyers serving British Columbia offer all prospective clients a free initial consultation, during which we provide cost-free, case-specific legal advice about potential options for financial recovery.
To learn whether you might be eligible to take legal action and recover the compensation you deserve, schedule a free initial consultation with our British Columbia dog bite lawyers by calling 1-800-JUSTICE today.