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Understanding Dog Bite Claims: What You Need to Know in Canada


Dog Bite Claims in Canada


Dogs may be considered “man’s best friend,” but unfortunately, dog bites are a common occurrence that can lead to severe injuries and legal consequences. In Canada, it’s crucial to understand your rights and the legal process surrounding dog bite claims to ensure you receive fair compensation for your injuries and damages.

Dog Bite Statistics in Canada

According to the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association, there are approximately 500,000 dog bites reported in Canada each year. While any breed has the potential to bite, certain breeds are more commonly involved in bite incidents, including:

  • Pit Bulls
  • Rottweilers
  • German Shepherds
  • Huskies
  • Doberman Pinschers

Dog bites can occur anywhere, but they are most prevalent in public places, such as parks and sidewalks, and private residences.

Legal Aspects of Dog Bite Claims in Canada

In Canada, dog owners are held strictly liable for any injuries or damages caused by their dogs, regardless of whether the dog had a previous history of aggression or not. This means that dog owners are responsible for their dog’s actions, even if they took reasonable precautions to prevent the incident.

However, there are some exceptions and defenses available to dog owners, such as:

  • The victim was trespassing or provoking the dog.
  • The victim assumed the risk of being bitten by interacting with the dog in a dangerous manner.
  • The dog was acting in self-defense or defense of its owner.

It’s important to note that the statute of limitations for filing a dog bite claim varies by province, but it’s typically two years from the date of the incident.

Types of Injuries and Damages from Dog Bites

Dog bites can cause a wide range of injuries, both physical and emotional. Common physical injuries include:

  • Lacerations and puncture wounds
  • Scarring
  • Fractures
  • Nerve damage
  • Infections

Additionally, victims of dog bites may suffer from emotional and psychological trauma, such as anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and a fear of dogs.

Damages that can be claimed in a dog bite case include:

  • Medical expenses (e.g., hospitalization, surgery, physical therapy)
  • Lost wages due to inability to work
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional distress
  • Disfigurement or permanent scarring

Steps to Take After a Dog Bite Incident

If you or a loved one has been bitten by a dog, it’s crucial to take immediate action to protect your legal rights and ensure proper documentation of the incident. Here are the steps you should take:

  1. Seek medical attention: Even if the bite seems minor, it’s essential to have a medical professional examine and treat the wound to prevent infection and document the injury.
  1. Report the incident: Contact your local authorities, such as the police or animal control, to file an official report of the dog bite incident.
  1. Gather evidence: Take photographs of the injuries and the scene of the incident, and collect contact information from any witnesses.
  1. Identify the dog owner: Obtain the dog owner’s name, address, and insurance information if possible.
  1. Contact a personal injury lawyer: Consult with a lawyer specializing in dog bite claims to understand your legal rights and options for pursuing compensation.
Dog Bite Claims in Canada

Pursuing Compensation for Dog Bite Claims in Canada

If you’ve been the victim of a dog bite, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries and damages. The types of compensation available in a dog bite claim can include:

  • Medical expenses: Past and future medical costs related to the treatment of your injuries, including hospitalization, surgery, medication, and rehabilitation.
  • Lost wages: Compensation for any income lost due to your inability to work during recovery.
  • Pain and suffering: Monetary compensation for the physical and emotional pain and suffering caused by the dog bite.
  • Disfigurement or permanent scarring: Additional compensation for any permanent disfigurement or scarring resulting from the dog bite.

The process of pursuing compensation typically begins with negotiating a settlement with the dog owner’s insurance company. If a fair settlement cannot be reached, you may need to file a lawsuit against the dog owner.

The amount of compensation you may receive will depend on various factors, including:

  • The severity of your injuries
  • The extent of your medical expenses and lost wages
  • The degree of pain and suffering experienced
  • The dog owner’s level of liability and any defenses they may have

It’s important to note that in some cases, even if the dog owner cannot be identified or is uninsured, you may still be able to recover compensation through your own homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy.

Dog Bite Prevention Tips

While dog bites can happen unexpectedly, there are steps that both dog owners and the general public can take to reduce the risk of these incidents occurring:

For Dog Owners

  • Properly socialize and train your dog from a young age
  • Supervise your dog when around children or strangers
  • Keep your dog leashed and under control in public spaces
  • Ensure your dog is up-to-date on vaccinations and regularly visits the veterinarian
  • Never leave your dog unsupervised with young children

For the General Public

  • Avoid approaching or petting unfamiliar dogs without the owner’s permission
  • Never run or scream around dogs, as this can trigger their chase instinct
  • Avoid making direct eye contact with dogs, as this can be perceived as a threat
  • Learn to recognize signs of aggression in dogs, such as growling, baring teeth, or raised hackles

Case Study: Successful Dog Bite Claim in Ontario

In 2019, a woman in Toronto was awarded $60,000 in damages after being attacked by a neighbor’s dog while walking on a public sidewalk. The woman suffered severe lacerations to her arm and leg, requiring multiple surgeries and extensive physical therapy.

During the legal proceedings, the dog owner initially claimed that the woman had provoked the dog, but this defense was ultimately rejected by the court. The court found the dog owner strictly liable for the woman’s injuries and awarded her compensation for her medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and future rehabilitation costs.

This case highlights the importance of understanding dog bite laws and seeking legal representation when pursuing compensation for injuries caused by a dog attack.


Benefit from Experienced Legal Representation

Dog bite incidents can have devastating consequences, both physically and emotionally. If you or a loved one has been the victim of a dog bite in Canada, it’s crucial to take immediate action to protect your legal rights and seek appropriate medical attention.

By understanding the legal aspects of dog bite claims, the types of injuries and damages that can be claimed, and the steps to take after an incident, you can increase your chances of receiving fair compensation for your injuries and damages.

Remember, seeking the guidance of a personal injury lawyer specializing in dog bite claims can greatly improve your chances of navigating the legal process successfully and securing the compensation you deserve.

Turn to Our Network of Personal Injury Lawyers

Turn to our experienced network of personal injury lawyers for assistance. At Claim Settlement, 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. 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


Yes, you can seek compensation for emotional distress resulting from a dog bite incident. Emotional distress, such as anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and a fear of dogs, can be included in your claim for damages, along with physical injuries and other losses.

If you were bitten by a dog while performing your job duties, you may be entitled to workers' compensation benefits in addition to pursuing a personal injury claim against the dog owner. It's important to report the incident to your employer and seek legal advice to understand your rights and options.

The statute of limitations for filing a dog bite claim varies by province, but it's typically two years from the date of the incident. If the statute of limitations has not expired, you may still be able to file a claim, but it's crucial to act promptly as the window for legal action is limited.

In cases where the dog owner is uninsured or lacks sufficient assets to cover the damages, you may be able to recover compensation through your own homeowner's or renter's insurance policy, depending on your specific coverage. An experienced personal injury lawyer can help you explore all available options for obtaining compensation.



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