What to Do if You (Or a Loved One) Is Bitten by a Dog

Dogs can be wonderful pets, but sometimes they harm other people. Dog owners are responsible for preventing their dogs from injuring other people. They can be liable for dog bite incidents. A car accident lawyer can help you launch a personal injury case and seek compensation for dog bite injuries. The outcome of your case may depend on what you do immediately after a dog bite. 

Dog Bite Injury Liability

Since dog owners are liable for third-party injuries caused by their pets, they may try to avoid civil lawsuits. Dog-bite laws vary in different states, but you must be able to prove the dog owner was negligent to get compensated for your injuries. If the dog owner has liability insurance, their insurer will try to discredit your claims by proving:

  • The dog bite happened while you were committing a crime
  • You provoked a dog attack by trespassing
  • The dog might have shown aggressive behavior, but the bite did not occur
  • You knew the risk of injury or harm from the dog, yet you took the chance voluntarily

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Here are some things you can legally do after a dog has bitten your loved one to ensure you get compensated:

Get the Dog Owner’s and Witnesses’ Contact Details

Dogs are territorial, so most attacks happen close to home or at parks when they wander away from their owners. Once the attack occurs, the owner might help you subdue it to prevent you from harming their pet. After the dog is under control, you should ask the dog owner for their contact details and address to help follow up with the case. If they have liability insurance, ask for their insurer’s information.

Any witnesses of the incident can help corroborate your version of what transpired if you go to court. Having witnesses strengthens your position. Get their names, address, and contact information since they may be pivotal in helping you win your case.

Report the Attack Immediately

Many states require victims to report dog bite incidents on the same day they happen. Report the attack to animal control authorities or the local police. This allows them to record the incident. Formal records will help you build a solid personal injury case since your attorney can use them in court.

Animal control authorities also maintain records of dangerous dogs in the area to help protect the population. Once you report the attack, the authorities will know what action to take against the dog or its owner. If there are prior incidents involving the same dog, animal control may take additional measures to protect the public from future attacks.

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Seek Medical Attention

Dog bites pose a significant health risk. There is a risk of deadly infections like rabies. Severe bites in vulnerable areas can cause long-term effects like visible scarring and chronic pain. Getting emergency medical attention after a dog bite can help you manage these issues. Health professionals also diagnose complications that might not be visible and include them in your medical report.

Aside from treating you physically, medical experts may offer counseling to help you overcome PTSD following a dog attack. Getting over this fear will allow you to bounce back faster and be actively involved in creating a solid case. Remember to follow up with your medical appointments after your initial visit to a doctor following the dog attack. Doctors will continually evaluate your treatment progress and adjust the methods they use to treat your injuries where necessary.

Document Everything

Building a solid personal injury case can be challenging since many dog owners will try various techniques to avoid responsibility. Documenting the incident where necessary will help prove your claims in court. Use your smartphone to capture images of the dog, its owner, your vicinity, and visible injuries. You can also document spaces where the dog came through, which can help you prove the owner’s negligence.

Involve a Personal Injury or Car Accident Lawyer

If left untreated, dog bites can lead to serious health issues and long-term complications. Medical expenses can be costly, so you may need compensation for the injuries to offset the costs. Your car accident lawyer gathers case facts like documented images and medical reports to build a robust case against the other party. This helps you claim adequate settlement from the dog owner.