Dog’s are often thought of as man’s best friend but it is important to remember that even the warmest pet can be a dangerous animal if it feels threatened or provoked. If you have been bitten by a dog, here are the first steps to insure your safety and future well being.
- Call the Police or Animal Control: You will be asked to give a detailed report of your experience including the breed of the dog, location of the attack and things that may have caused the dog to attack you. It is important to contact the authorities to get first-hand account of the incident as well as prevent the dog from hurting anybody else. You should also write down your account of the events for your records as the police typically won’t be as detailed in their report.
- Visit the Hospital or Urgent Care: After speaking with the authorities it is important to visit the hospital, urgent care or your primary care doctor to assess your injuries. Be sure to reiterate your experiences to the hospital exactly as you told the authorities. Also, check to see if the animal has been quarantined. This will be helpful to determine whether or not you will need to undergo treatment for rabies infection. You may need to speak with a plastic surgeon if you have large lacerations on your skin.
- Take Pictures of your Injuries: These can be used in future court cases should you pursue such action. Also take photos of where the attack occurred and if there are any “Beware of Dogs” signs. If possible try and get some video footage of the dog that attacked you.
- If you feel safe doing so, contact the dog owner in a non-threatening way. Ask if they have insurance and if the dog has done anything like this in the past. If they have insurance ask for their provider, the agent and claims contact number. Hold onto this information for the future.
- Call an attorney who specializes in dog bite cases. They will explain to you that even “minor” bites are actionable and you can be compensated for your pain and suffering. They will advise you on how best to proceed with your case should you want to go to trial.
Things to Know
- If you are bitten by a dog you can make claims to cover your hospital bills, any time off work you may have to take, and pain and suffering including emotional distress.
- Some homeowners insurance policies cover dog attacks but not all. Most renters are not covered under homeowners insurance.
- You may be contacted by a dog owner’s insurance company in the days following your attack. These companies call on the behalf of the dog owner. DO NOT give your account of the events to anyone who calls as this information can be used against you in court in the future.