Being attacked and bitten by a dog is a very frightening experience. It can be difficult to think with a clear head in this situation. What you do in the moments following when a dog bites is important both for your physical well-being and for your chances of receiving compensation for your injuries.
Identify the dog and owner
From a legal point of view, it is important to identify the dog and its owner because the owner is strictly liable for this attack. It is the owner’s homeowners insurance that will pay for these injuries and treatment. Also, it’s good to know if the dog has had its shots, so as to avoid having to have a painful rabies treatment.
Report the dog attack
It is important that you contact the police immediately and let them know that you were attacked. First, the police will help you to identify the dog’s owner and get the information that you need about the dog, such as whether or not it has had its rabies shots. Second, the police will document the attack and where it occurred, and which animal attacked you. They will also document the facts of the attack. The police will document the story at the time of the incident, and not when the owner is under the control of the insurance company.
Seek medical treatment as soon as possible
Dog attacks may cause very serious injuries. Most are obvious – the cuts, the bruises, the bleeding, the obvious pain. Others are not so obvious. A dog bite carries a serious risk of infection. Being knocked to the ground by a vicious animal certainly carries the risk of orthopedic injuries such as broken bones and torn ligaments. The psychological trauma caused by a dog bite attack is not immediately identifiable, but no less real. Because of the infection risks alone, it is imperative that you go to an emergency room or urgent care facility right away.
Have photos taken of the injuries
As soon as possible, usually right after you leave the hospital, take pictures of your bites, punctures, scrapes and wounds and any other visible injuries. If your clothing is torn or there is any blood on your clothes or anywhere else, it is good to photograph that as well. A picture really is worth a thousand words. Certainly the trauma of the event is easier for the insurance adjuster, or potentially a juror, to understand when there are photographs depicting what the dog did. Later on, all they will have are some scars and your words describing things. It helps to document that the scars that you may later develop were caused by the dog, and are not simply scars that you acquired in the course of your life.
Contact An Attorney
If you have been attacked by a dog make sure to call Dussault & Zatir to speak with one of our experienced atornies.