People are quick to point their fingers at specific breeds when it comes to dog bites. But the truth is that all dogs bite. A dog will bite if it experiences stress or feels threatened, regardless of breed, age, or the conditions it was raised in.
You should know what to do in the unfortunate event that a dog bites you. You may feel confused and scared. But these excuses won’t help when the injury worsens. This article is aimed at educating readers about the steps a victim of a dog bite must take. Following the steps in the article is required, not just in terms of health but also for financial reasons.
Among other things, as a dog bite victim, you must visit a dog bite injury lawyer in your area. The “in your area” part is important as dog bite laws vary from state to state.
Here are the immediate steps to follow after a dog bite:
- Seek medical care
- Exchange information
- Document injuries
- Talk to witnesses
- Contact animal control
- Hire a lawyer
We’ll discuss each of these steps in detail.
Seek Medical Care
The first thing you must do after a dog bite incident is get medical attention as soon as possible. Dogs have strong, sharp teeth that can rip through skin and flesh easily. Your injuries can range from minor lacerations to severe puncture wounds. It is important to make your way to the nearest medical center or emergency room immediately after a dog bite.
You must talk with the dog’s owner or caretaker after the incident. This serves two purposes.
- It allows you to inform them that the incident occurred
- You get the opportunity to collect information about the dog and its owner
The second point is vital. You need to collect the owner’s or caretaker’s name, address, phone number, and insurance information, along with the dog’s breed and vaccination history. The owner’s information will help for legal purposes, while the dog’s vaccination history lets you know whether you’re at risk of a rabies infection.
Dog bite injuries may worsen over time if left untreated. Physical injuries aside, you may suffer from emotional distress and severe pain at the location of the bite. All this must be recorded. There are multiple methods of documenting dog bite injuries. You can snap photographs or record videos of the injury. This helps in proving that you suffered injuries.
Additional methods like journaling, collecting medical records of your recovery, and requesting testimonials from medical practitioners act as evidence for the physical and mental distress you are suffering from due to the dog bite.
Talk to Witnesses
Most dog bite incidents have witnesses. Use them to your advantage. Ask for the contact information of eyewitnesses and request that they provide a statement. Witness statements carry weight in insurance claims or when the victim is suing the dog’s owner.
Contact Animal Control
This appears on the list as an act of precaution. It is important to contact the local animal control agency once you’ve been bitten by a dog. This notifies them that there’s a dangerous dog in the neighborhood. The agency will conduct its own investigation and may even hold the owner liable if they have broken any off-leash regulations.
Hire a Lawyer
Just because it appears to be the last step doesn’t mean it isn’t very important. It is essential to contact a dog bite attorney once you have completed all the previous steps. An experienced attorney will know what the local rules for dog bites are and will offer assistance accordingly. They will fight alongside you until you receive fair compensation for your injuries.
Dog bites have the capability to cause serious physical, emotional, and financial trauma to the victim. It is vital to pursue the dog’s owner legally to make up for the losses you’re suffering. If you or someone you know was a victim of a dog bite, get in touch with an attorney today.