Dog Bites/Injuries Lawyers Calgary

Often referred to as a “man’s best friend,” dogs are loyal companions to countless pet-owners and valued members of many Albertan households. Unfortunately, dogs can behave in unpredictable and even violent ways due to the negligence of their owners resulting in very serious injuries. Our Calgary dog bite/injuries lawyers can help you pursue compensation for your injuries if you or a loved one have been injured or attacked by someone else’s dog.

Dog attacks might include chasing, aggression incidents, bites, and more. Dog attack injuries might involve cuts and abrasions, soft-tissue puncture wounds, broken bones, dislocations, or permanent scarring. But you can also sustain injuries in an incident with a dog, even if they didn’t directly bite you. For example, if a dog chases you and you fall down and injure yourself, this may also be considered a dog injury as the dog was a part of a series of events that resulted you getting injured.

In Calgary between 2012 and 2017, there were 2,723 dog bites and chases confirmed in the city. 14% were coded as severe and 3% of dogs involved in attack cases were euthanized. In all of Alberta between 2010 and 2015, there were 21,821 emergency department (ED)  visits made for dog-related injuries. During this period, ED visit rates were highest among children under 2 years of age. In 2014, a survey conducted by the City of Calgary found that pitbull breeds were responsible for 16% of bites, retriever breeds for 9%, and shepherds for 10%.

The City of Calgary has earned an international reputation for its strict approach to regulating dogs and owners. Those with dogs in Calgary must license their animals, provide permanent identification for them through a tag or microchip, and sterilize the dogs they own. Failure to obtain an animal license can result in a $250 fine. Owners of dogs involved in attacks can be fined up to $10,000 by the City of Calgary and dogs may be euthanized according to the Alberta Dangerous Dogs Act. Calgary also mandates civilian compliance with Responsible Pet Ownership Bylaws. Failure to abide by regulations can result in a fine, or a dog owner may be held legally responsible for injuries caused by their dog.

While dogs may learn to trust the members of their own households, they could lash out aggressively at unfamiliar visitors, neighbours, or delivery personnel. Indeed, over 500 Canada Post employees are seriously injured as the result of an encounter with a dog each year. For legal assistance, contact our law firm if you or a loved one have been seriously injured by a dog in Calgary.

Common types of injuries sustained during dog bite incidents or dog attack incidents

Dog bites can cause a wide range of physical and psychological injuries. Small children, toddlers, and senior citizens are especially vulnerable to fatal injuries as the result of a dog attack.

Being attacked by a dog can be physically challenging, psychologically scarring, and expensive. Victims of dog attacks are often forced to pay large amounts of money to recover from the physical injuries they have sustained, which often include:

  • Disfigurement
  • Scarring
  • Nerve damage
  • Tendon damage
  • Broken or fractured bones
  • Musculoskeletal injuries
  • Sprains and strains
  • Head trauma
  • Amputation
  • Post-traumatic stress
  • Anxiety
  • And more

Dog bites can also result in severe, life-threatening infections, such as:

  • Rabies
  • Tetanus
  • Endocarditis
  • Sepsis
  • Meningitis
  • Pasteurella
  • Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA)
  • And possibly more

The psychological repercussions of a dog attack can be just as impactful for an injured victim as their physical injuries. After being bitten by a dog, many attack victims develop severe mental health issues including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, anxiety, severe phobias, insomnia and other sleep disorders, substance abuse issues, and body dysmorphic disorder as a result of their permanent scarring and/or disfigurement.

The mental health disorders developed by survivors of serious dog attacks could have financial implications, as well. An injured attack victim suffering from serious psychological issues may find it difficult to continue working. They may require ongoing psychological treatment in order to try recovering from their harrowing experiences.

Our Calgary dog bite lawyers believe that no one should be forced to cope with the profound, life-changing physical and psychological repercussions of being attacked by someone else’s dog. Victims of dog attacks deserve justice in the form of financial compensation for their injuries. If you were bitten by someone else’s dog, contact us to learn how our legal team can help you pursue meaningful compensation.

It’s not just dog bites – any incidents with dogs that resulted in your injury may qualify you for compensation

A dog bite case is one where a dog inflicts damage using its teeth. A dog bite usually results in puncture wounds, the severity of which usually depends on the breed of dog. Single puncture wounds can typically be treated without stiches. Deeper wounds from larger dogs or multiple puncture wounds may require stitches.

A dog attack is a broader term to include dog attacks that involve a combination of either biting, scratching or clawing, and/or jumping onto you. The most severe attacks are usually a combination of all 3 things. It is possible that you may have a claim even when a dog does not bite or scratch you. For example, if a large dog lunges at you, causing you to fall and sustain injuries, this would qualify as a dog attack and your legal options would be no different than someone who was bitten or scratched by a dog.

Who is responsible for a dog bite or attack?

According to Alberta’s Occupiers’ Liability Act, homeowners and the people who control access to a commercial or residential property owe a duty of care to their rightful visitors. As such, homeowners must take certain precautions around their property to ensure that their guests do not sustain injuries while visiting their homes. This may mean fixing hazardous maintenance issues on-site, adequately clearing the premises of ice and snow, and making sure their pets do not have the opportunity to injure their visitors.

If a dog owner fails to take any preventative measures to mitigate their dog’s behaviour and a visitor is injured as a result, the dog’s owner may be liable for damages incurred by the injured victim of the dog attack. That means, if you were bitten by someone else’s pet dog while visiting their property, they may be responsible for providing you with compensation for your damages.

Typically, dog bite claims are processed through the homeowner’s insurance policy. However, some insurance providers may make it difficult for injured victims of dog attacks to recover the compensation to which they should be entitled. In these cases, the assistance of an Alberta dog bite lawyer may be critical.

How do I prove liability in a dog bite or attack?

There are 2 main ways to prove liability in a dog attack case. The first is scienter and the second is negligence.

Scienter is a legal term that refers to the dog owner’s previous knowledge or awareness of their pet’s propensity for violence or aggression. Scienter can be an important factor in determining the liability of the dog owner in a dog bite case.

To establish scienter, an injured dog attack victim should be able to prove that the dog’s owner was aware of their dog’s history of violence, or that they should have known the dog was capable of acting in a violent manner. A dog owner may have actual knowledge that their pet was likely to cause harm because it had bitten or attacked someone in the past or had exhibited aggressive behaviour.

A dog owner may be held liable for damages through negligence, if they knew (or should have known) that the dog was likely to cause harm. This means that if the owner knew or had reason to believe that their dog was aggressive or had a history of biting, and they failed to take reasonable steps to avoid the attack.

Opposing parties in lawsuits may use the dog owner’s lack of knowledge about its violent tendencies to try withholding compensation from the victim. They may also argue that the victim’s behaviour provoked the dog to act aggressively in an attempt to better their litigation position.

By working with our lawyers, injured survivors of dog attacks may be able to fight back against the unfair tactics used by insurers and reach a fair settlement that takes the severity of their injuries into account. To learn more, contact us today.

Examples of dog bite claims Preszler Injury Lawyers has been involved in

At Preszler Injury Lawyers, we have been representing Canadian families since 1959. We have represented victims of violent dog attacks including fatal cases. Our firm has been involved in high-profile dog attack cases including the 11-year-old boy who was tragically killed by 2 dogs in Edmonton.

In a recent Preszler Injury Lawyers trial victory of Rae v. Gadella, 2023 BCSC 1398, our client sustained relatively minor injuries from a dog bite accident, but the dog owner refused to accept legal responsibility. Mr. Rae was involved in an unprovoked attack by a small dog in an elevator of a residential building. Mr. Justice Milman found the dog owner liable for both scienter and negligence due to the dog’s known history of aggression and violence.

It is common for people to fall victim to a dog attack while at work. Some dog bites may be covered by WCB, but many are not. For example, we have represented dog walkers who were attacked by random dogs or dogs they were hired to walk. It is expected that a dog owner will notify other people who interact with their dog, including a dog walker, if the dog has a history of violence or aggression. If they do not, this can amount to negligence if a bite or attack occurs.

Dogs are territorial and a stranger coming onto their property can cause them to become aggressive. Most people who shop online have regular deliveries to their home. If you own a dog, you have a responsibility to take reasonable steps to ensure delivery drivers are safe while visiting your premises. We have represented several delivery drivers, who are often not covered by WCB. Most delivery driver attacks occur as the drivers approach the premises, or when they are handing off a package to a customer.

How can a dog bite/attack lawyer help with pursuing compensation?

Bringing forward a dog attack claim requires a thorough investigation. This may include collecting various documents such as Animal Control and police files, requesting relevant medical and employment records, interviewing witnesses, investigating insurance coverage, and retaining qualified experts.

A strong dog bite case requires proving the dog or property owners are responsible but also proving how the injuries have and will continue to impact your life. A common litigation strategy used by insurance companies is to say the dog or property owner could not have prevented the attack and to minimize the impact the injuries may have had on a plaintiff’s life. An experienced dog attack lawyer can help successfully navigate your claim through these common defence strategies.

Our Calgary dog bite/attack lawyers can assist with all steps of the investigation and litigation and fight for compensation you deserve. Focus on your recovery and health while we handle the legal side of things – call now for a free consultation.


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