What to Do After a Dog Bite
While most dogs are happy to provide endless companionship to the people around them, even the most docile canine can snap under certain circumstances. Consequently, millions of people are bitten by dogs every year. Since dog bite injuries can have significant medical, legal, and financial ramifications, it’s important to know what to do after a dog bite. Read on to learn more about important steps to take after these types of incidents.
What to Do After a Dog Bite: First Steps
- Medical Care: Especially for puncture wounds and more serious injuries, it’s important to seek medical attention right away. Some dogs are not vaccinated against rabies, and puncture wounds are prone to infection. If at all possible, take pictures of your wounds before they are treated in order to more accurately document the harm done.
- Exchange Information: Like the aftermath of a car accident, you should exchange information with the dog’s owner or caretaker so you can easily contact them after the incident, in part to verify the dog’s vaccination history. This information should include the person’s name, address, and contact information.
- Witnesses: Whether you were bitten or your dog bit someone else, be sure to get contact information for anyone who witnessed the incident. If there is a need for a lawsuit or an insurance claim, eye witness accounts can provide a more accurate picture of what happened.
- Animal Control: Filing a report with your local animal control agency helps to prevent future dog bites, and their investigation into the incident may help your own case.
Following through on these initial steps will facilitate the process of coming to a fair agreement later regarding compensation for dog bite injuries.
Documenting a Dog Bite
In addition to the first steps outlined above, documentation is also a key component of what to do after a dog bite. First, document any injuries associate with the bite, including visible injuries and the effects of those injuries, such as pain, decreased mobility, and inability to perform certain functions. This documentation can be in the form of photos, journal entries, medical records, and other written records. Additionally, soon after the incident, write down the events and circumstances surrounding the bite with as much detail as you can remember.
Since you may be dealing with an insurance company or a lawsuit, it’s a good idea to document any correspondence you have with others, including witnesses, other parties, and the insurance company itself. In addition, keep records of expenses you incur as a result of the dog bite, such as medical bills, lost wages, and travel costs. The more documentation you have regarding the incident, the easier it will be to assess the amount of compensation you deserve for your injuries.
Contacting a Dog Bite Attorney
Because dog bites are such a common occurrence, there are attorneys with extensive experience handling dog bite insurance claims, settlements, and lawsuits. These attorneys are usually well-versed in arriving at an accurate amount of compensation a dog bite victim should receive. These amounts often involve detailed calculations for lost income and earning potential, pain and suffering, and other expenses. They also have experience assessing a client’s likelihood for success based on their state’s dog bite laws and the outcomes of similar cases they’ve seen.
Lastly, a dog bite attorney can be instrumental in dealing with the other party’s insurance company and negotiating a settlement. While the insurance company has plenty of experience getting people to accept low settlement offers, a dog bite attorney is very familiar with the tactics used by insurance companies and other lawyers, and knows the best arguments and evidence to use to obtain a fair settlement.
What to Do After a Dog Bite: Explore Your Legal Options with a Lawyer
Knowing what to do after a dog bite can help you obtain the care you need and the legal outcome you deserve. However, it can still be difficult to know the state laws that apply to your situation, the types of compensation you should receive, and the likelihood of achieving a fair settlement. To increase your chances of a successful personal injury lawsuit, it's best to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney in your area.
Contact a qualified personal injury attorney to make sure your rights are protected.