How Injury Lawyers Assist in Dog Bite Cases
Dog bites can result in serious injuries. At the very least, they will result in a trip to the hospital. You may need shots to clear up potential infections and you will likely have to live with at least some discomfort for a period of time. In some cases, you end up missing time from work because you cannot do your job while you are recovering. People can also sometimes die from dog attacks.
While it seems like one of those incidences that should be trending downward, each year insurance companies see more claims regarding dog bite lawsuits. In most of these cases, a dog has been allowed to escape the property and attacked a neighbor. In other cases, the dog was in a public place and lost its cool. No matter what the situation, you deserve to be compensated for pain and suffering related to your injuries and any other damages that result from the injury.
Should I File a Dog Bite Lawsuit?
That depends. In cases in which there is substantial scarring and medical issues that persist, it is in your best interests to recover damages.
A dog bite can cause major damage. The dog not only draws blood but tears into the muscles and nerves. This can result in permanent scarring and permanently reduced function due to nerve damage. Additionally, any time you miss from work due to your injury deserves to be compensated as does extensive pain and other kinds of suffering.
What Does a Personal Injury Lawyer do?
In the event that you are bitten by another person’s dog, a personal injury lawyer prepares a file collecting all of the evidence and the medical consequences of your injuries. We then file a claim against the at-fault party or the insurance company that provides the policy for their property. This can get complicated. Determining whether there is insurance coverage is always important.
Laws Regarding Dangerous Dogs in Nova Scotia
It is important to understand that civil liability in dog bite cases is governed by the common law and can be governed by governmental bodies.
In Halifax, for example, an owner can be held liable for financial penalties if a dog has been deemed dangerous. For a dog to be labeled dangerous, the dog must have previously bitten another person and or demonstrated other dangerous tendencies. The dog is then registered as dangerous and the owner is subject to penalties if the dog attacks another person.
There are limits, however, to when a dog can be deemed dangerous. For instance, a dog that was defending itself or its property would not be deemed dangerous for attacking a trespasser. Additionally, if someone provoked the dog, the dog might not be considered dangerous by the court.
Nova Scotia does not have a specific statute regarding dog owner liability in personal injury lawsuits. Provisions issued under the Provincial Occupier’s Liability Act does hold owners to a reasonable standard of safety and obligations while the dog is on their property. The common Law principles apply when the dog is not on their property but is in their control
Proof and Liability for a Dog Bite in Nova Scotia
The question of liability must be established. In a dog bite lawsuit, a plaintiff alleges that as a result of the defendant’s negligence, the dog owner allowed the dog to injure the victim. In the past, the plaintiff needed to prove that the defendant knew the dog had a propensity for aggression or violence and failed to take the proper precautions to restrain the dog. That is no longer the case.
Today, the burden of proof in a dog bite case is much lower. In Nova Scotia, it is sufficient to prove that the dog did, in fact, cause the injury. The question that must be answered in a modern dog bite case is: Did the owner take reasonable measures to ensure the safety of others/his neighbors? If the owner’s failure to take these reasonable measures resulted in injuries to the plaintiff, then the owner of the dog is liable under the law.
Nonetheless, the plaintiff must be able to prove that the dog owner either knew or should have known that the dog presented a danger to others.
Provocation as a Bar to Recovery
Provocation does not necessarily bar a dog bite victim from recovering damages related to his or her injuries. However, it may reduce the amount of damages if it can be successfully argued that the victim instigated the situation. A dog bite lawyer can help you determine whether or not a dog owner is liable in the event that you are partly responsible for the incident.
Homeowner’s Insurance and Dog Liability Insurance
Since there are a number of homeowner’s insurance providers that will not insure certain breeds of dogs, insurance companies now offer dog liability insurance to those that have “more aggressive” or larger breeds of dog.
The Role of Your Personal Injury Lawyer in Filing a Claim
One of the first tactics that insurance company will employ is to blame you, at least in part, for instigating the dog bite. In cases in which the owner can be said to have taken reasonable precautions in securing the dog or ensuring the safety of neighbors, the insurance company may be able to get the claim tossed completely. This is much more difficult if you have a personal injury lawyer representing your interests.
Your lawyer will look for corroborating testimony and talk to other neighbors who can attest that the dog was, in fact, a danger to other people. This shifts the burden of proof back to the defendant to prove that he or she acted reasonably to secure the dog. If the defendant cannot prove that he or she acted reasonably to secure the dog, and your injuries were a result of that failure, the dog’s owner is liable under the law.
Talk to a Nova Scotia Dog Bite Lawyer
If you have been injured by an aggressive dog, the lawyers at Preszler Law Firm can help you recover damages related to your injuries. Give us a call at 1-800-JUSTICE or talk to us online for a free consultation.