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What should you do if you have been bitten by a dog?

What should you do if you have been bitten by a dog?

Meet Franklin, he is a puppy and is a bit unpredictable. Regardless of age or size, all dog owners have a responsibility to make sure that they have control over their animal.  This means they must always train their pet to behave at all times. Interestingly, there are over 500,000 dog bites each year in Canada. Most reported bites occur in the summer months. Unfortunately, most dog bites happen when they are being teased or if they are being disturbed while they are eating. Young school aged boys are most likely to be attacked. The injuries are typically to the face, arms, and legs of the victim. What should you do if you have been bitten by a dog?

If you have been injured by a dog bite:

  • Clean the wound well and seek medical attention
    • Check to make sure that your tetanus shots are current
    • If possible, ask the owner about the dog’s rabies shots
  • Document the incident, and all medical attention in detail for your records in the event legal action is required
  • Take photos of the injury immediately after medical attention.
  • Report the incident to animal control.
  • Seek legal advice from a dog bite lawyer if necessary.

If you are the owner of the dog involved:

  • First make sure the person your dog bit is ok. Help them with any medical assistance and call for emergency help if required.
  • Journal everything that happened before and after the bite
  • Contact animal control and report the incident
  • Notify your insurance provider
  • After you have filed the reports, wait for further follow up from the different agencies involved
  • Contact a dog bite lawyer for advice if necessary

What should you expect afterwards?

Ok, what should you do if you have been bitten by a dog? There are a few things that can happen. As the person hurt, depending on the severity of the bite and any medical issues that arise afterwards, you may want to speak with a personal injury lawyer to discuss your options. There may be compensation for your injuries, any lost income, lost future income, medical expenses, as well as any emotional trauma that is a result of the dog bite.

As a dog owner this can be a very stressful time.  Animal control and your insurance provider will do a thorough investigation of the incident. They will want to see your dog, look at his environment, and ask you more specific questions. You will receive a fine from the city bylaw and there may be further consequences for you and your animal depending on the nature of the bite and the injuries sustained.

What is the law?

Each province has its own rules, but British Columbia has a “One Bite Rule”. Under this legislation a person suing for damages may only be successful if there is knowledge that a dog has bit before, or if they can prove that the owner has prior knowledge of behavior indicating potential damage. Even if you are not able to take legal action under the “One Bite Rule” you may be able to sue for negligence.

Owners are negligent if they fail to exercise reasonable care, such as, if their dog is:

  • Hungry
  • Abused
  • Not exercised
  • Off Leash

A dog owner will be found liable if they know that the dog is aggressive. However, they may be found not liable if there is no history of aggression and they can prove that the dog was provoked by:

  • Taking food from the dog
  • Stepping on his tail
  • During a dog fight
  • Sick or infected with Rabies
  • Sprayed with repellent
  • Approached on property they are protecting

Consequences for owners

Owners of dogs that bite can be:

  • Fined
  • Fined and imprisoned
  • Charged
  • Sued
  • Not Insured
    • Dog owners that do not inform their insurance companies about a dog bite incident can have their home insurance cancelled.

Possible consequences for the dog include:

  • The dog may always be required to be muzzled and leashed
  • May be designated as a Dangerous Dog
  • May have to be kenneled
  • Ordered to be destroyed by the courts

How we can help

If you are the victim of a serious dog bite you may be able to sue for both physical and emotional damage. Filing with Insurance companies and providing all the necessary paperwork can be a stressful and difficult process. If you have questions about your claim, contact us for help.  A Wishart Brain and Spine Law dog bite lawyer offers a free consultation for situations just like yours. Let us guide you through the process

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