Steps to Take if You’ve Been the Victim of a Serious Dog Bite

Dogs are incredible companions, but they are also unpredictable. Well-trained animals are the exception rather than the rule, and even a dog whose owner assures you of their friendliness can attack if provoked or frightened. Being bitten by a dog can be a truly traumatic experience. The injury can be serious, and the situation can be further complicated based on your relationship with the dog’s owner.

If you’ve been the victim of a serious dog bite, the first thing you should do is take care of yourself physically. If you know the animal’s owners, make sure that it is up to date on all of its shots. If you do not know the animal and it is running loose, you will need to call animal control and try to ascertain whether it has had all of its vaccinations.

If possible, photograph the dog and gather the names of any witnesses to the attack. Attend to the wound that you suffered, applying first aid and cleaning the wound if it is minor. Seek medical attention if you have suffered a puncture wound or you need stitches. Remember that dog bites can easily become infected. Also, if you can’t identify the dog or access its medical records, you may need to be treated for rabies.

Beyond treating your wounds, there are also steps that you need to take to preserve your legal rights and to protect others from being at risk in the future. File a report with the police and maintain all medical records and a list of your expenses. The authorities will need to speak with the dog’s owner to ascertain whether this is a first attack and what steps need to be taken to prevent the dog from attacking again.

It can be difficult to confront an animal’s owner over a serious bite. While some owners will work to make things right, others will become defensive about their dog’s behavior. It is best to let an experienced attorney assume responsibility for all communication and legal action, especially if the dog’s owner is known to you.

Depending upon the extent of your injury and whether you incurred significant medical expenses or other damages (including having to miss work or emotional trauma from the event), you may need to pursue reimbursement from the owner or their homeowner’s insurance company. For assistance, contact our compassionate attorneys today to set up a time to discuss your situation.