Although dogs are known for being friendly animals, you have to know every canine is capable of biting. However, the risk of dogs biting significantly increases when they’re eating, scared, protecting something, or nervous.
If you’re bitten by a dog, knowing what to do immediately won’t only benefit your health, but it can be of great help in case you obtain a dog bite injury and decide to file a lawsuit. Keep in mind that a dog bite can affect your finances and health. So, if you want to obtain the compensation you deserve, make sure to follow the steps below:
1. Seek Immediate Medical Attention
Infection from a dog bite can be serious, particularly if you don’t know the dog and you’re not aware of the vaccination it may have. That’s the reason why you should clean the wound immediately to prevent infection and call a doctor as soon as possible.
Your doctor will check the wound to see if it went deep to damage anything beneath the skin that might cause problems. They’ll also clean the wound thoroughly. And in other cases, doctors may recommend stitches.
For deeper and serious bites, plastic surgery is required. If you’re not sure whether the dog has rabies, you might have to get a rabies vaccine and the doctor will ensure your tetanus shot is updated. If your dog bite is infected, the doctor will then prescribe you some antibiotics as treatments to kill the germs from the infection.
2. Follow The Doctor’s Orders
It’s essential to follow the doctor’s orders. For instance, if you won’t visit your doctor for a follow-up, your dog bite injury may get worse. In fact, it may severely be affected, which can result to more problems in the long run. Also, you have to take note that insurance companies won’t cover your medical expenses because they’ll argue such costs might have been avoided.
3. Know The Dog’s Owner
Depending on your case, you might want to ask for help from law enforcement to know the owner of the dog. It’s a great idea to know if the dog has rabies or other dog diseases.
Finding the dog’s owner is essential to your chance of receiving compensation for your injuries. When it comes to a civil claim, regardless of your medical concerns, you might want to know the dog’s owner. Oftentimes, the owner can either be your neighbor or somebody in your neighborhood.
Remember, the only way to reimburse your lost wages or medical expenses due to dog bite injuries is to hold the dog’s owner responsible. Besides, you can’t sue a dog. So, before you decide to file a case, do your best to identify the owner of the dog. Otherwise, there’s nothing a lawyer can help you with.
4. Contact The Animal Control
It’s crucial if you’re bitten by a stray dog. Animal control can catch the dog to prevent future injuries to somebody else and ensure they’re not rabid. But you can still ask for help from animal control, especially if the dog is at large. If the dog has a microchip, animal control will help you locate its owner.
5. Document Everything
Documentation is a crucial step after an incident. First and foremost, document the injuries you’ve experienced due to the dog bite. These may include the physical injuries and effects of such—inability to do certain activities, decreased mobility, and pain.
Your documentation can be in the form of journal entries, photos, medical records, and some written records. After the incident, it’s also essential to write down the circumstances and events as detailed as you can.
Since you may need to deal with a lawsuit or an insurance company, it’s a great idea to document the correspondence you have with others, which include the insurance company itself, witnesses, and other parties. Other than that, keep a record of the expenses you’ve spent because of the injury. These may include travel costs, lost wages, and medical bills.
The more documentation you have about the incident, the easier it’ll be to evaluate the compensation you deserve.
If your dog bite injury causes a physical deformation, make sure to take periodic photos of the damage. You can also take photos of the incident scene.
6. Report The Incident
If you don’t know the dog that bites you, it’s crucial to report the incident to major authorities. The first is the police and the second is animal control. If you can’t track down the dog’s owner, animal control will take care of it, as mentioned above.
Once you contact the police about your incident, they’ll file a report. This report can be useful when you decide to pursue a claim against the owner of the dog. Reporting your case to the police can also ensure the dog’s owner will take the necessary steps to stop the dog from biting others.
7. Contact Or Talk To Eyewitnesses
Your eyewitness can provide you a more accurate description of what may happen during a dog bite incident. Thus, it’s crucial to get their contact details in case you want to file a lawsuit. As witnesses, they can testify for you, which can increase your chances of getting the claim or legal results you deserve.
8. Contact A Lawyer
Since dog bites are a common occurrence, there are lawyers with years of experience in handling dog bite lawsuits, settlements, and claims. They’re well-versed when it comes to negotiating the compensation victims should receive. Such amounts frequently involve accurate calculations for pain and suffering, lost earning potential and income, and some expenses. Also, they have experience evaluating the client’s likelihood for success based on the dog bite laws of your state.
Knowing the steps to take after a dog bite incident can help you get the immediate care you need and the justice you deserve. But it can still be challenging to know the state laws applying to your situation, the likelihood of achieving a fair settlement, and the kinds of compensation you must receive. To increase your odds of getting a favorable outcome from your dog bite injury case, consult an experienced and qualified lawyer in your area.