Dog bite evidence can come from many sources, including eyewitness testimony and pictures of your injuries as well as the dog’s prior history of aggression. This evidence is necessary to prove liability for dog attacks.
Dog bite victims should seek prompt medical treatment after a dog attack. It’s best to seek a consult with a health professional, at most, 24 hours after receiving dog bite injuries, even if it isn’t an emergency. After your medical needs are met, consider what you’d need to make a dog bite claim and win your dog bite case using the following six types of evidence.
If possible, document the scene in the immediate aftermath of a dog bite. Start with your injuries. Take clear, close-up photographs from multiple angles to capture your injuries’ full severity. Be sure to also document every area on the body where the dog left marks, and not just the primary bite. Tears in clothing, scratches, and bruised or bloodied sites on your body from being knocked over or trying to defend yourself from the attack are relevant.
Ask a companion or a bystander to take pictures if your injuries prevent you from doing so or are in a difficult area of the body to photograph. Be sure to capture images of other relevant aspects of your surroundings, like pictures of the animal and dog owners. Whether the animal was without a leash or failed to be adequately confined or restrained are important factors to consider in a dog bite case.
If available, video evidence, including video from mobile phones, can capture important details about your dog bite incident. Videos can be even more valuable than pictures as evidence of a dog bite because they more easily capture the circumstances leading up to a dog attack. Some videos may even include sound, documenting any relevant voices or noises heard prior to the attack.
Determine whether any private property or public spaces located near the location of the dog bite had active security cameras operating at the time of the incident. It can seem awkward to ask, but most businesses are happy to help when they learn that someone is injured on or near their property. The dog bite lawyers at Stephens & Holman can investigate whether a video with useful information about your dog bite exists.
Eyewitnesses can be critical to a winning dog bite case. Bystanders, workers, and even the dog’s owner can provide an accurate accounting of the circumstances leading up to and including the dog bite. The more statements that verify your version of events, the better. Having an unbiased confirmation of what happened can reinforce your description of the incident and prevent the dog’s owner from denying responsibility for the attack. The owner may even allege the victim provoked the dog attack. A full accounting from witnesses with nothing personal to gain from your dog bite case is some of your best evidence.
Medical Records and Documents
Comprehensive medical records documenting your condition, such as physical exams, blood work and other diagnostic tests, doctors’ notes, and treatment received can all be important when establishing the impact a dog bite injury has on your health and well-being. Medical records are important to show the full extent of damages incurred from a dog bite. They help establish whether or not you require long term medical care or are disabled and unable to earn an income from working according to accepted medical and legal standards. Personal injury damages, such as those awarded in dog bite cases, can also cover the victim’s long-term pain and suffering if injuries result in disfigurement or a reduced quality of life.
Health records are not only important for proving the severity of your injuries but can help show what costs (medical and other associated expenses) should be included in your dog bite claim. These will be used to calculate the total compensation you may be owed if the dog’s owner is proven to be negligent, and their negligence caused your injury.
Animal Control Records
In British Columbia, animal control services are provided by the local Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. They are a non-profit charged with keeping records pertaining to dog bite incidents. Call their toll-free line at 1-855-622-7722; if no one answers, leave a message using the automated menu with your contact information and what happened.
If you are in the Vancouver area, use the VAN311 website to report your attack. Leave your contact information, the date and location of the attack, as well as a description of the animal and the incident.
While there’s no legal obligation to report dog bite incidents in BC, animal control services maintain comprehensive records of these incidents. Records of previous attacks by a dog can reveal a history of aggressive behaviour. This is called a dog’s propensity to bite and is important to BC’s so-called “one bite rule,” which necessitates that dog owners be aware of a dangerous dog to be held responsible for any attack. If the owner knew that the dog was likely to bite in the future based on awareness of prior attacks, it shows they acted carelessly and irresponsibly, endangering the public.
These authorities must also maintain ownership records and will show the dog’s owner (and the defendant in a dog bite case) was therefore responsible for its behaviour. When proving negligence in a dog bite case, it’s important to establish that a dog’s owner is aware of the risk a dog poses to the public. Animal control services may also conduct their own investigation to determine whether other factors, including animal abuse, could have led to the attack. In some cases, animals that pose an ongoing risk to public health and safety must be put down.
Proving lost wages in a personal injury court case involves presenting evidence to demonstrate the financial impact the injury has on the victim’s ability to work and earn income. This typically involves providing documentation such as pay stubs, tax returns, and employment records to establish pre-injury earnings. This can include future earnings in some cases.