Dogs are among the most kept pets by humans. They are cute, cuddly, and provide great companionship. Despite being adorable, sometimes dogs can snap and bite humans. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that every year there are about 4 million people bitten by dogs. Unfortunately, several complications can result from a dog bite, including infections, rabies, and broken bones. This can also lead to other financial and legal ramifications. It is therefore important to know how to act when that happens. Below, get to learn about the steps to take when you or your loved one is bitten by a dog.
Identify the Owner and Exchange Information
Try and stay calm and get information from the dog owner. This is the same way you would get a driver’s information after a car accident. Getting their information will also help the doctors when confirming the dog’s medical history. The information needed includes the owner’s name, contact information, and address. Get the details of the dog as well, including what breed it is. If there are witnesses around, get their contact details. This comes in handy for both your personal injury case and insurance claim.
Get Medical Treatment
Another important step to take is getting medical treatment. If the wound is superficial, you can simply clean it. Puncture wounds are more severe and so seek medical help immediately. If the dog has not been vaccinated against rabies, the wound can get an infection requiring antibiotics. You may also need stitches if the tear is serious. All the medical records documenting your injuries should be kept well. This includes receipts, bills, lab results, diagnosis reports, and discharge instructions. These are the documents you will need later when filing a claim.
It is important to collect evidence of the accident. Take photos of the injuries before getting treatment. Your attorney will help you research the effects of such injuries to support your case. Also, photographic evidence shows how severe the injuries were. Besides the witness information, medical records, and photographs, write down your own version of events before the accident. Your memory is fresh at this point, and you are unlikely to distort information.
The more evidence you have regarding the accident, the easier it will be for you to get compensation for the damage caused.
Contact Animal Control
If the dog was alone, report the incident to local animal control. Do not give them extensive details, especially if you have yet to consult with your attorney. Animal control can help trace the dog and check if it has rabies. If it did, you would need to start rabies vaccination to prevent an infection. Also, catching the animal prevents future dog bites.
Contact a Personal Injury Attorney
As seen below, dog bites are common, which means you will also find a personal injury attorney to help you get compensation. Kuzyk Law recommends finding an attorney with extensive experience that has dealt with personal injury cases before. An attorney can estimate the amount of compensation you should get. To get to that amount, the attorney calculates medical expenses, loss of income and potential earnings, pain, and suffering, among other costs.
The attorney will also help you in negotiating with the insurance company of the dog owner till you get a settlement. They are familiar with most tactics that insurance companies use and will know how to navigate all that for fair compensation.
It is good to know what to do after a dog bite. This allows you to get the medical care and legal help you need later. Familiarize yourself with your state laws as well on such matters as this will help you know what to expect.