Did You Know That Home Insurance Policy Covers Dog Bite Attacks in Ontario?

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Did You Know That Home Insurance Policy Covers Dog Bite Attacks in Ontario?

Are dog bites considered to be a personal injury and how can one be compensated for a dog bite? Who compensated for dog bites? In Ontario, there is compensation for personal injury suffered from dog bites and it is typically covered under the home insurance policies.

What to do if you have had a dog bite you in Ontario?

If you have suffered from a dog bite in Ontario, you are entitled to compensation.  Depending on whether you know the dog or not, you must take certain steps to help make your claim possible. For example, if a dog bites you in a public place, you need to try to find out the dog owner’s name and contact information.  As soon as possible, take pictures of the injured area. Try to write down as much information as possible. Record the time, location, and witnesses  ( their contact information)

Ontario laws for dog bites are governed by the Dog Owners’ Liability Act (R.S.O. 1990, Chapter D.16) . It says that the dog owner is liable. Now, the person who suffered the dog bite can be found partially responsible, or their guardian may be partially responsible (if the dog bites a minor).  For example, if the injured provoked or taunted the dog, they may be contributorily negligent. Another example would be if a parent or guardian failed to properly supervise a minor who suffered a dog bite. There are exceptions, for example, if the victim was bitten or attacked by a dog who was protecting property during the commission of a crime. In this case, you don’t need an Ontario personal injury lawyer, you need a criminal lawyer.

Do I have to sue the owner of the dog personally?

No, dog bites are typically covered under the owner’s home insurance policy. What that means is that in most cases the owner of the dog is completely uninvolved in the claims process.  In most cases, they are unaware of the amount of the settlement or even what stage a lawsuit is at.  The compensation does not come out of their pockets. In most cases, the insurance adjuster is the only one involved in the case.  The homeowner’s insurance policy covers not only dog bites that occur in the home but also in public places.

Depending on the severity of the dog bite injury as well as past injuries caused by the dog, the Ontario courts can also determine that a dog may need tighter supervision, need to wear a muzzle or perhaps need to be put down (in extreme cases).  It may be that the courts determine that the dog poses a safety threat to society.

The Ottawa papers reported a story this week. Rachel Hansen was bitten in the left eye while visiting a neighbour’s apartment. She bent down to say hi to the dog and the dog went for her face. She suffered a very serious personal injury as a result of the dog bite and was extremely lucky not to have lost her vision. She will now require some reconstructive surgery on her eyelid. In situations such as this, the injured would be entitled to compensation under the Dog Owners’ Liability Act and Rachel would be entitled to claim her injuries through the dog owner’s home insurance policy. Not all dog bite accidents are this straightforward, but many are.

If you or someone you know has suffered from a dog bite, you should consult with an Ontario personal injury lawyer experienced in dog bite attacks.

About the Author

David Hollingsworth has been a personal injury lawyer in Ottawa since 1999. David dedicates himself to helping people who have been injured in an accident, including car accidents, slip and fall accidents, motorcycle accidents, LTD claims, Accident Benefits claims and more. David and his team work closely with their clients and their families and help rebuild lives, following a traumatic accident. To learn more about David Hollingsworth, view his full profile.