Dogs are primarily considered to be man’s best friend. Most dogs are happy to provide endless companionship, friendship, and loyalty. But even the most docile canine can snap under certain circumstances and act defensively if they have been hurt or feel threatened. Consequently, a lot of people are bitten by people’s furry companions. In fact, according to the CDC, approximately 4.7 million dog bite injuries occur in the U.S. every year. These injuries can have significant medical, legal, and financial ramifications, so it is important to know what to do after you have been bitten. After all, dog bites happen fast, but at Jeff GOULD Law, we understand that the effects of these injuries can last a lifetime.
The First Steps After Being Bitten
A dog bite can be a traumatic experience. Knowing what to do in this situation can be critical not only to your health but in regards to any legal action you may need to take.
- Before you do anything, seek medical attention first, especially for puncture wounds and more serious injuries. Remember, not all dogs have been vaccinated, and puncture wounds are prone to infection. Because of this, it is essential to have a professional look at bites and puncture wounds immediately. If at all possible, take photos of your wounds before they are dressed in order to more accurately document the damage done.
- Just like with any other accident, you should exchange information with the other parties involved. Get the name, address, and contact information of the animal’s owner or caretaker. Get the Insurer Name and Policy # of the dog owner’s Homeowner or Renters Insurance. Unless excluded by the dog owner’s Insurer, dog bites are usually best covered by the dog owner’s Homeowner or Renter Insurance. Even if you don’t have a need for legal action, you will still want to follow up to verify the dog’s vaccination history. If you can’t obtain proof of rabies vaccination, you may be forced to undergo a series of rabies shots, which can be painful and pricey.
- Whether you were the person bitten or your own dog bit someone else, get contact information for anyone who witnessed the incident. If legal action is required or an insurance claim, eye witness accounts can provide a clearer picture of what happened.
- After you’ve received medical attention, even if your injury was minor, contact the local police department to investigate, document and report any dog bite on a human with an injury. Also, contact the same day and make SURE to file a request for investigation and Reporting, ALSO, with your local animal control agency. This legally documents your case as well as providing help to the next victim if the same dog bites again. Furthermore, their investigation into the incident may help your own case.
Remember that any dog, even your own, can bite. If you do get bit, following through on these initial steps will facilitate the process of coming to a fair agreement if legal action and compensation are necessary.
Documenting a Dog Bite
In addition to the steps outlined above, documentation is a key component of what to do after a dog bite. Particularly if you need to seek medical compensation for your injury, start documenting as soon as possible. Write down the circumstances surrounding and events leading up to the bite with as much detail as you can remember. Keep notes of any injuries associated with the attack. Include visible injuries as well as the side effects of those injuries. Make notes of pain levels, decreased mobility, and inability to perform certain functions. Your documentation can include photos, journal entries, medical records, and other written records. During this time, you may be dealing with an insurance company or a lawyer. Be sure to outline any correspondence you have with witnesses, other involved parties, and the insurance company or lawyers themselves. You will also want to keep detailed records of expenses you may incur as a result of the dog bite. This includes medical bills, lost wages, and travel costs. The more details you have regarding the incident, the easier it will be to assess the amount of compensation you deserve for your injuries.
Explore Your Legal Options with a Lawyer
Knowing what to do after you’ve been bitten can help you obtain the care you need and the legal outcome you deserve. Dog bites can happen seemingly without warning. That’s why you need an attorney like Jeff Gould, who has extensive experience handling personal injury cases. To increase your chances of a successful personal injury lawsuit, consult with an office like Jeff GOULD Law immediately. We can be instrumental in dealing with the other party’s insurance company and negotiating a settlement. If you’ve been bitten by a dog in Tucson, Oro Valley, Marana, or Sahuarita, contact us today. We are well-versed in arriving at an accurate amount of compensation a dog bite victim should receive.