Suffering a dog bite is a scary experience. Because most dogs are friendly, people sometimes forget that dogs can be unpredictable.
Dogs are animals, and their instincts will take over in some situations. If a dog feels threatened, scared, or overly excited, it can bite.
According to the World Health Organization, approximately 4.5 million people suffer dog bites each year. Some dog bites can lead to serious injury or infection, so it’s important to know what to do when a dog bites you.
If you or a loved one have suffered a dog bite, here are the steps you should follow depending on the severity of the injury.
If the dog bite occurs while other people are around, it’s important to get their names and contact information. Witnesses can be helpful in providing details of the circumstances of the dog bite.
This is especially helpful if your story is different from the dog owner’s version. For example, it’s important to know if the dog was on a leash or if the incident took place on public or private property.
If you have a serious injury from a dog bite, it’s a good idea to speak to a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible.
Identify the Dog Owner
It’s important to get the contact information of the dog owner. If possible, take a photo of the dog and owner.
If someone else besides the owner was with the dog at the time of the incident, get their contact information in addition to the owner’s information. In some situations, it may be necessary for someone to follow the dog home to identify the owner.
If a stray dog bites you and you cannot identify the owner, do not try to capture the animal. You or the police can contact animal control in this situation.
Contact the Police
Just like a car accident, you should call the police if a dog bites you, your child, or loved one. This is important because you need a report of the attack.
The police can determine if this is an isolated incident or if there’s a history of problems with the dog or owner. The police will document the circumstances of the incident and interview the owner and any witnesses.
See a Doctor
Following a dog bite, you should see a healthcare professional as soon as possible. You can visit your local doctor, an urgent care facility, or the emergency room.
If the wound is severe, it’s very important to see a doctor. Dog bites can result in infection, so don’t take any chances when it comes to your health.
Be sure to explain what happened so they can document your injury and treatment. The dog owner may be liable for any damages you incur due to the attack.
Document the Attack
It’s a good idea to document your version of the incident as soon as you can. Document whether or not the dog was on a leash, where the incident took place, and whether the dog bite was provoked or unprovoked.
Find out the breed of the dog. Some breeds are more aggressive than others.
If the dog that attacks you is classified as a dangerous breed, it could strengthen your case if you pursue a legal claim.
You or someone else should take photos of the dog, owner, your injury, and location where the attack occurred. Keep records of any costs associated with the attack such as medical bills for doctor’s visits, insurance co-pays, prescriptions, or over-the-counter medications.
Check Vaccination Documentation
Dog bites can lead to serious infection, especially for someone with a weak immune system. Someone with a health condition such as diabetes or liver disease is more prone to infection as well.
If possible, you should ask the dog owner for vaccination documentation. You can follow up with the dog’s veterinarian if you have concerns.
You want to check to see if the dog’s vaccinations are up-to-date. If your wound is deep or severe, your doctor may recommend a course of antibiotics until you have healed.
Keep Clothing From the Attack
Dogs often bite through and tear clothing during an attack. If this is the case, keep the clothing you wore during the incident.
Any sort of evidence you keep or document could be helpful later.
Proving a Dog Bite Claim
Proving liability in a dog bite case is not easy. Counties, cities, and states have varying laws regarding dog registration, leash requirements, and dangerous breeds.
Some states maintain the One Bite Rule. This states an owner is liable after a first bite incident only if they knew the dog was a risk to others.
Some states have a Strict Liability Rule. In this situation, whether it’s the first bite or the twentieth, you must prove you weren’t trespassing when the dog bite took place.
What to do When a Dog Bites You
When a dog bites you, it’s a distressing experience. It’s important to know what to do when a dog bites you.
When a dog attack is severe, you may have a claim. It’s a good idea to speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer if you suffered a serious dog bite injury.
Depending on the circumstances, the dog owner may be liable for your medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. This is especially true if you have long-term impairment or disfigurement due to your injuries.
Having a personal injury lawyer to assist you is a good first step in obtaining the compensation you deserve. Your lawyer can protect your rights and deal with the insurance company so you receive what you’re due.
If you have suffered a serious dog bite injury, our personal injury lawyers will look at the circumstances of your case and determine if we can assist you. We handle all kinds of personal injury cases and would love to discuss your case with you.
Contact us today for a free consultation.