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Toronto Dog Bite Lawyer - Compensation


If you are the innocent victim of a dog attack in Ontario then you may be able to recover compensation. The legal rights of a dog bite victim depend on where the attack happened and the circumstances of the attack. If you are the innocent victim of an attack then you may be able to recover compensation using a contingency fee arrangement which means that if your dog bite lawyer doesn't succeed in getting a settlement for you then he won't get paid his legal fees. For advice on the law in Ontario without cost and without obligation from a Toronto dog bite lawyer just call the helpline or complete the contact form or email our Toronto offices. A specialist personal injury lawyer based in Toronto will telephone you immediately to discuss your compensation claim. There are some exceptions to the general rule on liability.


There are exceptions to the general rules on legal liability and expert advice from a Toronto dog bite lawyer is essential. Just some of the exceptions to the general rules are as follows :-

  • The victim was a trespasser.
  • The victim was a veterinarian who was treating at the time of the incident.
  • The victim was committing a felony.
  • The animal was provoked by the victim.
  • The dog was assisting the police or the military at the time of the incident.


To succeed in a legal claim it is usually necessary for a dog bite lawyer to prove at least the following :-

  • The identity of the pet owner
  • That the victim was actually bitten
  • That the victim, at the time of the bite, was in a public place or lawfully in a private place
  • That the bite caused injury, suffering, loss or harm


The legal liability for compensation following a dog bite is determined by "common law" or by specific statutes. It is essential that expert advice is sought from an experienced local specialist dog bite lawyer to ensure that legal liability is established.

The term "common law" refers to the opinions and decisions of judges following consideration of cases heard by them and has developed over hundreds of years. Common law generally indicates strict liability against a dog owner where the owner has knowledge or ought to have knowledge that the animal has a vicious, dangerous or mischievous trait or propensity. For the owner be held liable under common law it must be shown that the animal is dangerous and that the owner had or should have had knowledge of the trait or propensity. If victim's dog bite lawyer proves these two elements then the pet owner is strictly liable. The doctrine of negligence which can also be used to establish liability has also been developed in the common law. Negligence is the doing of something which a reasonably prudent person would not do, or the failure to do something which a reasonably prudent person would do and is the failure to use reasonable care. If negligence is established by the victims dog bite lawyer then the owner will usually be liable to pay compensation.

Assumption of Risk

The defence of assumption of the risk is available in strict liability claims and applies to trespassers, subject to certain exceptions for infants, those involved in voluntarily providing canine services including veterinarians and those who wilfully tease or provoke an animal into violence.


A dog bite settlement is payable for injury and loss by the owner or person in control of the animal at the time the violent assault. Realistically the majority of compensation claims are paid out by insurers under either specific pet policies or under household policies which contain cover for liability for damage and injury caused by domestic animals. Where there is no insurance cover it is frequently difficult to obtain a dog bite settlement as the owner of the dog is often impecunious and unable to pay although strictly speaking they remain personally liable for any awards of damages made against them. Unless there is some evidence that the uninsured owner has assets which can be used to satisfy any judgement it would not be advisable to take action because of the real likelihood of failing too recover either compensation or the legal costs expended by a Toronto dog bite lawyer using a contingency fee arrangement.

Dog Bite Lawyers - Compensation Awards

If you have been injured and liability can be established then you are entitled to be compensated for all the losses that you have suffered. You are entitled to a dog bite settlement for the pain and suffering that you have gone through as a result of the injury and compensation should also include past and future medical costs and past and future wage losses together with any detrimental change in lifestyle and compensation for any losses of personal property.

How much compensation an injured person will receive in a dog bite settlement depends on the extent and severity of the injury, the treatment, the amount of permanent or residual damage, the effect on lifestyle and the ability to work. Lawyers separate compensation into two categories which are General Damages and Special Damages :-

  • Special Damages are losses that can be accurately calculated including past and future loss of earnings, medical expenses including treatment for scarring in the future, other quantifiable losses and expenses and damage to property.

  • General damages are those items that are difficult to calculate accurately and include physical and emotional pain and suffering, loss of the enjoyment of life and psychological injuries such as depression, or post traumatic stress disorder. Valuation of the dog bite settlement follows consideration of medical reports prepared by a medical specialist after physical examination and perusal of all medical records.

Facts & Figures

  • There are over 4 million dogs in Canada.
  • More than 25% of households own one.
  • There are hundreds of thousands of bite victims in Canada annually.
  • Approaching 100 people need treatment in hospital emergency rooms every day.
  • There are fatalities from dog bite wounds almost every year.
  • A Canadian has a one in 50 chance of being bitten each year.
  • Victims in Canada suffer millions of dollars in monetary losses every year.
  • One in three homeowner insurance claims pertains to a bite.
  • The average insurance payout exceeds $10,000.
  • The breeds at highest risk of biting are Pit Bull Terriers, Rottweilers, German Shepherds, Huskies, Alaskan Malamutes, Doberman Pinschers, Chows, Great Danes, St. Bernards and Akitas.

Frequently Asked Questions - FAQs

Should I report that I’ve been bitten or attacked?

  • Any attack requiring medical treatment should be reported to the police department as soon as possible and a note should be kept of the circumstances of the attack together with the date and details of the person to whom it was reported. You should also contact an experienced Toronto dog bite lawyer for legal advice about your dog bite case at the first possible opportunity to ensure that evidence is preserved.

Should I take photographs?

  • Take photographs of any injuries and of the accident location. Photographs of the injury should be taken at intervals as the healing process progresses to document the history of the recovery.

Does it matter where the injury occurred?

  • The location of the attack is important. In a dog bite case the owner may be held responsible if the bite occurs on public property or on private property.

How long will the claim take?

  • The main restraining factor in regards to the time that a claim takes to settle relates to the time taken for recovery from the physical injury to take place. Toronto dog bite lawyers do not like settling early as they would have to take a risk that full compensation is not obtained if the client does not recover in accordance with the period predicted in the medical reports. Once the medical situation is clear the time for settlement depends on whether or not legal liability is admitted. Less than 2% of cases go to trial and the majority of cases settle within months of resolution of the medical evidence. Generally a dog bite case takes about a year to resolve but they are often be settled earlier.

What is the average amount of the settlement?

  • The insurance industry maintains that the average settlement exceeds $10,000.

Which breed is most likely to bite?

  • Over 30 breeds are known to have caused fatalities however statistically the most dangerous are pit bull terriers, rottweilers, german shepherds, huskies, alaskan malamutes, doberman pinschers, chows, great danes, st. bernards and akitas.