How to File a Dog Bite Report
Even the most avid dog lover doesn't want to suffer a dog bite. Unfortunately, animal attacks happen more often than you may realize. When attacked by a dog quickly file a dog bite report with your local animal control agency. Learn how to file one and why doing so is important in this article.
Why File a Dog Bite Injury Report?
There are a few reasons a dog bite victim doesn't want to file a dog bite claim. Sometimes they are friends with the dog's owner, afraid of the owner, or don't want anything to happen to the dog. Authorities urge victims of dog bites to report these incidents. Your local animal control agency and health department need to know about animal attacks for many reasons. This article explores those reasons and how they help you and your community in the long run.
Provides Documentation of Personal Injury
A dog bite report provides legal documentation of the incident. You will need this to file an insurance claim with an insurance adjuster or a lawsuit against the owner.
Starts an Investigation Into the Dog Bite Injury
A dog bite report triggers an investigation into the personal injury incident. Once you file your report, then law enforcement can use it to get records and investigate. These records pertain to the dog's owner, bite history, and vaccinations. This investigation may provide evidence of the dog owner's fault. You can present the evidence to the insurance company for a personal injury claim. You may use this evidence in a personal injury case against the owner of the dog or his homeowner or renter's insurance.
Enforces Dog Bite Laws
Reporting a dog bite injury allows local agencies to enforce state and local dog bite laws. Thirty-seven states have specific dog bite laws though fault is attributed to the dog owner in all 50 states. If the dog is dangerous, then the owner will have to take more precautions. For example, the dog may have to wear a muzzle. An owner may also face criminal charges and pay fines for their negligence. They may also have to pay vicious dog insurance.
Prevents Future Attacks
A dog bite report can help protect others from attacks by the same animal. The dog's owner is more likely to take extra precautions once the authorities are aware of the dog's dangerous behavior. This is especially true when the law demands it. Texas law states an additional dangerous dog attack is a felony that carries a jail sentence and a fine. In more extreme cases, a rabid or vicious dog may be put down to avoid future harm to the community.
Saves Dogs in Harmful Situations
Some dogs may attack when they feel threatened. When dog owners abuse them, those dogs lash out at others even if no real threat exists. Local animal control agencies help protect abused or neglected dogs even in a dog bite case. If they find evidence of dog abuse, your dog bite report helps the dog.
How to File a Dog Bite Report
Your first priority after a dog attack is to seek medical attention. Dog bites can lead to infection, disfigurement, and even rabies. You can have injuries even if they don't need an emergency room visit. Mental injuries like Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and anxiety can occur.
Next, you must document what happened to you or a loved one. Local animal control and law enforcement need evidence for their investigation. If not, your personal injury lawyer and insurance company need it for the civil claims you file. You should:
- Take pictures or video of your personal injuries
- Keep track of your medical treatments and medical care
- Write down the circumstances surrounding the incident
- Take pictures of your wounds and injuries as they heal
- Write down what you remember from the attack
- Get witness names, phone numbers, and contact information
- Save all medical bills and medical records
- Keep track of all doctor, counselor, or facility names
File a Report With Animal Control
Now you need to locate your animal control agency. Animal control is a division of your local police department, humane society, or some other agency.
You will need to ask what their reporting process is. Every agency has its own way of doing these reports. Some offer their dog bite report forms online while others ask you to call them first.
It is important you cooperate with animal control's investigation into the incident. You should answer their questions and attend any hearings they request. It is normal for animal control to work with a police department when investigating. During their investigation, local agencies issue subpoenas and interview witnesses.
After the investigation, there will be a hearing. The hearing will determine what happened, the penalties needed, and if a dog needs removal.
What To Do if You Are the Dog Owner
If a person alleges your dog bit them, consider contacting a dog bite attorney. A dog bite attorney is a personal injury attorney with knowledge of dog bite laws in your state. They also know the legal defenses to a dog-bite lawsuit. Cooperate with animal control during the investigation.
It's important to take these reports seriously. You could be sued and your insurance rates may go up. Even worse, you could lose your canine companion and face criminal charges. If someone files a civil legal action against you and succeeds, you will have to pay damages. You may pay medical expenses, pain and suffering, and dog bite incident damages.
Contact a Dog Bite Lawyer To Review Your Dog Bite Claim
Although it may seem like a straightforward process, the legal and financial consequences of a dog bite are complex. Your state laws and the circumstances of your case determine how complex your case is. There are statutes of limitations that limit the amount of time you have to bring a personal injury lawsuit. Make sure to file a dog bite report and get a free case evaluation from an experienced dog bite attorney.
You Don’t Have To Solve This on Your Own – Get a Lawyer’s Help
Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.
Contact a qualified personal injury attorney to make sure your rights are protected.