Understanding Contributory Negligence in Dog Bite Cases

Dog bite cases are particularly interesting, especially if they are held in the state of Ontario. The main reason for this is that there is a clear determination of the obligation, liability as well as the differentiation of damages associated with dog bites set forth in the separate and unique Dog Owner’s Liability Act. This piece of legislation was enacted back in 1990 on the 31st of December. It hasn’t been amended or replaced ever since. This is a clear sign for only one thing – it works. The legislative authorities have managed to successfully asses the social demands of regulations and have put all the necessary texts in one concise piece of legislation.

Now, this particular act governs quite a few things. It sets forth provision which shed a lot of light on matter such as:

  • Dog Owner’s Liability
  • Conditions under which liability can be sought after
  • Events which can trigger a potential case
  • Pitbull bans
  • Contributory Negligence

There are also some general articles in the Act which give concise explanation of certain terminology which are mandatory for all parties involved in a process of this kind. However, the most interesting thing associated with the act that also deserves tons of attention is the institute of contributory negligence.

Right off the bat, it’s important to point out that the Dog Owner’s Liability Act sets forth an incredibly wide spectrum of responsibility on behalf of the dog owner. He doesn’t have to be present at the time of the accident nor does he have to be aware of it. He is going to be held accountable either way. There are no exceptions to this rule but one – contributory negligence. As the name suggests, this is an event in which the victim of the attack is also liable because he has contributed in some way. That is why if you have had a part to play in the attack by the dog, it is good to discuss it with your lawyer in advance.

Interestingly enough, this is the only thing that may limit the responsibility of the owner. If a person, who’s been attacked and injured by a dog, has in some way irritated the dog and thus caused the attack, the victim’s compensation is going to be reduced accordingly. However, contributory negligence also suggests that if the victim has failed to take action in regard with the treatment of his injuries under premises which he’s responsible for, the dog owner can’t be held responsible for them. Any complication which can be pinned on the failure to take action on behalf of the victim won’t affect the accountability and liability of the dog owner, who’s animal caused the initial injury. The solution is fair because the alternative is a state of endless liability which can’t be tolerated neither by the law or by the social demand for regulation.