First Steps For a Dog Bite Victim to Take
It could happen anytime: you may be out for a morning job around the neighborhood, or simply out in the front yard tending to your garden. Whether you have surprised a dog or it approaches you, you know to be cautious when dealing with an unpredictable animal. Sometimes, though, a placating voice and tentative step away from the situation doesn’t guarantee your safety. The risk of a dog bite is there regardless of your behavior and the dog’s identity, but if it happens to you it’s important you take measures to protect yourself and seek compensation if necessary.
In the unfortunate event that a dog attacks and bites you, you want to make sure you know who owns the dog. You may not be able to get close enough to read its collar ID (if the dog has one), but you’ll want to get a friend, neighbor, or family member to take pictures of the dog for later identification. If the dog isn’t wearing a collar with tags, don’t assume it is a stray – it may be a pet of a negligent owner or maybe the collar has gone missing. If you are unsure of where the dog belongs, you may also try to pen it. Do not, however, risk further aggression.
Next, assess your injury. If the dog has broken skin or inflicted injury on your face or in a manner that has caused serious pain, get to the emergency room. Have a physician examine you and make note of treatments and prescriptions. If you know the dog’s owner, find out if the animal has had the necessary shots. Otherwise, you’ll need to let the doctor know that the dog’s condition is unknown, and from there it will be determined whether or not rabies shots are required.
If you know the dog’s owner, inform them of the incident and find out if the dog is insured. The owner may file a claim as one would if he/she caused an auto accident. If so, you may be contacted by the owner’s insurance representative. Get as much information from the rep as you can, including the claim number, but be careful not to discuss money or lawsuits, or do anything to agitate the dog’s owner. Threats of having the dog put down, for example, may not work in your favor.
You may also wish to contact a personal injury lawyer and find out what rights you have. The dog owner’s insurer may attempt to disprove your claim, so disclose all information you have related to your injury and your attorney can work to get the compensation you need to pay your medical bills. A dog bite may prove painful, but if you encounter resistance from the owner the ensuing fight could aggravate you further. Allow a lawyer with a concentration in personal injury help.