Can a dog attack injury victim obtain compensation for emotional distress in an Ontario dog bite cases?
In a dog owners liability case, the main statute to consider (other than local by-laws), is the Dog Owners Liability Act of Ontario. That statute imposes strict liability on dog owners for payment of compensation to persons injured by dogs.
Section 2 of that Act provides for liability where a dog has bitten or attacked a person “or domestic animal”. The term domestic animal was added to the Act recognizing that dogs can attack persons and other animals and cause injury. In general terms, a domestic animal is considered an animal that belongs to a species that is not wild by nature. One case often relied upon by personal injury lawyers representing dog bite or attack victims is called Somerville v. Malloy decided in 1999. In that case, the defendants pitbull attacked and killed another person’s pet dog. The owner of the pet sustained only minor physical injuries. However, he sustained significant amount of emotional distress over the death of his beloved pet. The judge in that case specifically provided that damages for mental distress could be awarded in cases such as where a dog attacks and kills another dog or other pet. The judge awarded $20,000 in general damages.
In another case called Nevelson v. Murgaski decided in 2006, one dog attacked another dog injuring it in the process. The court awarded damages for pain and suffering.
In conclusion, courts will award damages for mental distress and pain-and-suffering in cases where a dog injures another person’s pet.
Our lawyers have handled many dog bite cases and successfully obtained fair compensation for our clients. If you or someone you know has been bitten or attacked by a dog, contact us for a free consultation. Our lawyers work on the basis of charging no fees until a settlement is obtained.
Call us at 613-315-4878. Marc Quinn, Ottawa dog bite lawyer.