Known colloquially as “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.
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.
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:
Dog bites can also result in severe, life-threatening infections, such as:
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 impossible to continue working. They may require ongoing psychological treatment in order to try recovering from their harrowing experiences.
We 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 we may be able to help you.
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 might 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 the context of dog bite claims, 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.
A dog owner may be held liable for damages resulting from a dog bite 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, they may be held liable for any injuries caused by the dog, even if they took reasonable steps to prevent the bite.
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.
Insurance companies 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 reduce their settlement offer.
By working with us, 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.
It can be difficult to take legal action against a dog owner, especially if they are a close friend or relative. However, it is important to remember that dog bite claims are primarily handled by the dog owner’s insurance provider. Homeowners have insurance so that, when the unexpected occurs, injured victims will be fairly compensated.
To discuss your dog attack claim and learn how we may be able to help you recover the compensation you deserve, call us today and receive a free initial consultation.
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