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Statute of Limitations for Dog Bite Lawsuits in Canada: Don’t Miss Your Chance to Sue


dog bite lawsuits


Every year, thousands of Canadians suffer from dog bite injuries, many of which result in severe physical and emotional trauma. While these incidents can be traumatic, it’s crucial to understand that you have legal rights and options for seeking compensation. However, these rights are subject to the statute of limitations, which is a legal deadline for filing a lawsuit. Missing this deadline could mean losing your chance to seek justice and receive the compensation you deserve.

Understanding the Statute of Limitations

The statute of limitations is a law that sets a time limit for initiating legal proceedings. In the context of dog bite lawsuits, it determines the maximum amount of time you have to file a claim against the dog owner or responsible party. This time limit varies across provinces and territories in Canada, but in most cases, it ranges from one to three years from the date of the incident.

For example, in Ontario, the statute of limitations for dog bite lawsuits is two years from the date of the incident or the discovery of the injury, whichever is later. In British Columbia, the time limit is also two years, while in Quebec, it’s three years. It’s essential to consult with a personal injury lawyer in your province or territory to understand the specific deadline that applies to your case.

Consequences of Missing the Deadline

Failing to file a dog bite lawsuit within the statute of limitations can have severe consequences. Once the deadline passes, you may lose your legal right to seek compensation, even if you have a legitimate claim. This means that you won’t be able to recover damages for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, or any other losses related to the dog bite incident.

Consider the case of Jane Doe, a Toronto resident who suffered severe injuries from a dog attack in 2018. Unfortunately, she was unaware of the statute of limitations and waited until 2021 to seek legal advice. By that time, the two-year deadline had passed, and Jane was unable to pursue legal action against the dog owner, leaving her with mounting medical bills and no recourse for compensation.

Factors Affecting the Statute of Limitations

While the statute of limitations provides a general time frame, several factors can influence the deadline or pause the clock temporarily. These include:

  1. Date of the Incident: The clock typically starts ticking on the date of the dog bite incident.
  2. Age of the Victim: If the victim is a minor (under 18 years old), the statute of limitations may be paused until they reach the age of majority, allowing them more time to file a claim.
  3. Discoverability of the Injury: In some cases, the limitations period may start from the date the injury was discovered, rather than the date of the incident itself. This applies to situations where the full extent of the injury was not immediately apparent.
  4. Exceptions and Extensions: Certain circumstances, such as the dog owner’s absence from the province or the victim’s incapacitation, may extend or pause the statute of limitations temporarily.

It’s crucial to consult with a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible after a dog bite incident to ensure that you don’t miss the deadline and preserve your legal rights.

Steps to Take After a Dog Bite Incident

If you or a loved one has been bitten by a dog, it’s essential to take the following steps:

  1. Seek Medical Attention: Your health and well-being should be the top priority. Seek immediate medical attention, even if the injury seems minor, as dog bites can lead to infections or other complications.
  1. Document the Incident: Collect as much evidence as possible, including:
  • Photographs of the injuries
  • Witness statements and contact information
  • The dog owner’s name, address, and contact information
  • Details about the location, time, and circumstances of the incident
  1. Consult with a Personal Injury Lawyer: Hiring a skilled personal injury lawyer can significantly increase your chances of success in a dog bite lawsuit. A lawyer can guide you through the legal process, gather additional evidence, negotiate with insurance companies, and represent you in court if necessary.
dog bite lawsuits

Preparing for a Dog Bite Lawsuit

If you decide to pursue legal action, your lawyer will guide you through the process of building a strong case. This may involve:

  1. Gathering Evidence: Your lawyer will collect and organize all relevant evidence, including medical records, proof of financial losses (e.g., missed work, medical bills), and expert witness testimony if needed.
  1. Determining Liability: Your lawyer will investigate the circumstances of the incident to determine who is liable for the dog bite. In most cases, the dog owner is legally responsible for their pet’s actions, but other parties may also be held accountable depending on the situation.
  1. Calculating Damages: Your lawyer will assess the full extent of your damages, including medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and any other costs or losses related to the incident.

Dog Bite Lawsuits and Settlements

The legal process for a dog bite lawsuit typically involves the following steps:

  1. Filing a Claim: Your lawyer will file a claim against the responsible party, initiating the legal proceedings.
  2. Negotiations and Settlements: In many cases, the parties involved may attempt to reach a settlement agreement through negotiations, avoiding the need for a trial.
  3. Going to Trial: If a settlement cannot be reached, your case may proceed to trial, where a judge or jury will decide the outcome based on the evidence presented.

It’s important to note that dog bite lawsuits can be complex and may face various challenges, such as disputes over liability or the extent of damages. However, with the guidance of an experienced personal injury lawyer, you can navigate these challenges and increase your chances of a successful outcome.

Prevention and Safety Tips

While legal action may be necessary in some cases, prevention is always the best approach. Here are some tips for responsible dog ownership and avoiding dog bite incidents:

  • Socialize and Train Your Dog: Proper socialization and obedience training can help prevent aggressive behavior in dogs.
  • Supervise Your Dog: Never leave your dog unsupervised, especially around children or strangers.
  • Leash Your Dog in Public: Always keep your dog on a leash when in public spaces to maintain control.
  • Avoid Confrontations: Do not approach or provoke unfamiliar dogs, even if they seem friendly.
  • Teach Children Dog Safety: Educate children on how to interact with dogs safely and what to do if approached by an unfamiliar or aggressive dog.


Don’t Let Time Run Out: Seek Legal Help Today

If you or someone you know has suffered from a dog bite, time is of the essence. The statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit can vary depending on your province or territory, and missing the deadline could mean losing your chance to seek justice and compensation.

Trusted Legal Expertise at Your Service

Turn to our experienced network of personal injury lawyers at Claim Settlement for assistance. Our team of legal experts boasts over 30 years of collective experience in successfully handling personal injury and accident cases, securing millions of dollars in settlements for our clients. Benefit from our complimentary initial consultations and rest assured, you won’t incur any fees until our network of lawyers has secured the compensation you rightfully deserve.

Take Action Today

If you’ve suffered an injury or been involved in an accident, reach out to us at 1-833-892-5246 for a no-obligation consultation, or email us at Our dedicated team is here to guide you through the legal process and ensure you don’t miss your chance to seek justice.


If you fail to file a lawsuit within the statute of limitations, you may lose your legal right to seek compensation, even if you have a legitimate claim. This means you won't be able to recover damages for medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, or any other losses related to the dog bite incident.

In certain circumstances, such as the victim being a minor, the dog owner's absence from the province, or the late discovery of the injury, the statute of limitations may be extended or paused temporarily.

While it is possible to represent yourself in a dog bite lawsuit, it is highly recommended to hire an experienced personal injury lawyer. A lawyer can guide you through the legal process, gather evidence, negotiate with insurance companies, and represent you in court, increasing your chances of a successful outcome.

At Claim Settlement, our network of personal injury lawyers operates on a contingency fee basis, meaning you won't incur any fees until they have secured compensation for you. Initial consultations are complimentary, allowing you to discuss your case and understand your legal options without any upfront costs.



Claim Settlement is here to help guide you through every step of the process. Don’t hesitate to contact us today for free claim review.
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