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Dogs are beloved and cherished companions for humans. They have been man’s best companions since the beginning of time. However, they are protectors, and they are capable of attacking or biting, which leads to pain and trauma. 

As per the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, over 1000 dog bite incidents are reported annually in Ontario. In Ontario, the law directs dog owners to take adequate precautions to ensure their pets don’t harm fellow humans. If you or someone you know has been a dog bite victim, it’s advisable that legal help is sought from a reputable law firm such as MG Injury Lawyers. In this blog post, we will provide you with a step-by-step approach to seeking legal help after a dog bite lawyer in Ontario, including the penalties for dog bites.

Step 1 – Seek Medical Attention

In an unfortunate event when a dog bites you or someone you know, the first and most crucial step is to seek first aid and medical attention. Any dog bite, be it major or minor, can lead to severe infections and health complications that may turn into something chronic or deadly, too, so getting proper medical treatment as soon as possible is crucial. In addition, it is essential to document all medical treatment and follow-up visits related to the incident, as this information will be used to calculate your damages and build your case. 

Step 2 – Report the Incident

In an unfortunate event when a dog bites or attacks someone or any other animal, the owner of the dog is held responsible for any harm or damage incurred by the victim, irrespective of the nature or scenario. In Ontario, the Dog Owners’ Liability Act outlines strict liability for dog owners in these situations. If the dog owner fails to comply with the law, it will result in severe penalties, including a fine, jail time, and even the capturing and euthanization of the dog in extreme cases. In addition, as directed by the law, dog owners must report any dog attack incidents to the authorities. If the owner fails to do so, the victim needs to take charge and report the incident to the local animal control agency or police department. This will ensure proper documentation of the incident that will help in holding the dog owner accountable for their pet’s actions.

Step 3 – Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer

In a dog bite incident, it is important to understand your legal rights and options, so it is highly advisable that you hire a personal injury lawyer who specializes in dog bites, such as MG Injury Lawyers, at the earliest. They are aware of the legalities and can help you understand your legal rights and guide you through the whole process. It is in your best interest to contact and hire a lawyer soon after a dog bite to ensure your case is appropriately documented and your rights are protected.

Step 4 – Gather Evidence

Your lawyer will assist you in gathering evidence, such as medical records, witness statements, and photos of the bite and injuries, to strengthen your case. Hence, it is imperative that as much evidence as possible is gathered to support the case. The evidence will be used to prove that the dog owner was responsible for the bite and that you deserve compensation for your injuries and damages. The evidence properties include photos of your injuries, witness statements, and any other documentation related to the incident. Your lawyer is also likely to investigate the dog’s history, the owner’s liability, and any other relevant factors.

Step 5 – Negotiate with the Owner

Before entering a legal tussle, the lawyer representing you will negotiate with the dog owner or their insurance company. They will seek compensation for your medical expenses, lost income, and pain and suffering. The case only rolls into court if the dog owner does not agree to your legal demands. 

Step 6 – File a Lawsuit if Necessary

In case negotiations with the owner or insurance company are unsuccessful, your lawyer may advise you to file a lawsuit. They will guide you through the legal process and represent you in court. Filing a lawsuit is a serious step and should only be taken if the negotiations fail to yield any result. You will be filled in by your lawyer about the risks and benefits of filing a lawsuit.

Step 7 – Assess the damages

Damages in dog bite cases can include medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and other related expenses. Your lawyer will work with you to calculate the full extent of your damages and negotiate a settlement that covers all your losses. Your lawyer may also take the case to trial to fight for your rights in court if necessary.

In Ontario, the penalties for dog bites are governed by the Dog Owners’ Liability Act. The act imposes strict liability on dog owners for any damages resulting from a dog bite, and the penalties can be severe. The penalties include –

  1. Fines – Dog owners can be fined up to $10,000 for a first-time offence and up to $20,000 for subsequent violations.
  2. Jail Time – Dog owners can face up to six months in jail for a first offence and up to two years for subsequent offences.
  3. Dog Seizure and Killing – In extreme cases, the court may order the seizure and euthanization of the dog.

Dog bites can have severe and long-lasting consequences, both physically and emotionally. If a dog in Ontario has bitten you or someone you know, it is important to seek legal help from a reputable law firm such as MG Injury Lawyers. Our experienced dog bite lawyers will guide you through the legal process, fight for your rights, and ensure you receive fair compensation for your losses. Seeking legal help after a dog bite is not just about getting financial compensation but also about holding the dog owner accountable for their negligence and preventing future incidents from happening. Contact us for further information. 

At MG Injury Lawyers, we have a team of seasoned and dedicated dog bite lawyers who are ready to help you through this difficult time. From gathering evidence to negotiating with insurance companies, we have your back. So contact us today for a free consultation, and let us fight for your rights.