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Resources - Personal Injury From A Dog Bite?


Consult a Personal Injury Attorney Before Filing a Report With the Animal Control Department

Walk down any street and you’re likely to see, or hear, a dog. When you consider that there are close to 75 million domesticated dogs in the United States, it’s hard to go anywhere without being exposed to one of our four-legged friends. For the most part, dogs you come in contact with are friendly and nonaggressive; however, there are dogs that react with unnatural aggression to even the most non-life-threatening situation and will bite without provocation.

When you consider that there are thousands of dog bite cases annually, and many of the victims are children, personal injury attorneys are kept busy with personal injury suits brought forth by those who’ve been bitten. While emergency rooms treat close to 400,000 people a year for dog bites, there are likely even more individuals who are bitten but don’t report it.

Bear in mind that whether your dog bites a family member, a stranger, or visitor to your house, the owner of the dog is legally liable for their dog’s behavior. Canine bite lawsuits are typically filed when the bite is serious enough to have caused hospitalization, emotional distress, loss of work/wages, or visible scarring.

What You Should Do if Bitten or Attacked
The first thing to do immediately following a dog bite or an attack from a dog—whether it’s your own or a stranger’s—is to seek medical attention. Regardless of the size of the bite, you need to be treated to prevent tetanus or infection. You will want to report the dog bite to the local authorities and give them as much information about the situation as possible, including the following:

  • What kind of dog it was
  • Whether the dog was wearing any kind of collar or tags
  • Where the bite or attack happened
  • Whether you know the owner or the house or location where the dog lives

The best case scenario is that the dog will be found and its owners will have the dog’s vaccinations and rabies shots up-to-date. It is crucial to determine whether the dog has rabies or has been vaccinated because it can save you from having to undergo painful rabies vaccinations. Even if you don’t have time to call the police at the scene, the emergency room doctors will have paperwork for you to complete regarding the dog bite and the situation under which it occurred.

Many individuals find it best to consult a personal injury attorney before they file a report with the animal control department. Your attorney will make certain you don’t write anything in the report that can hinder your rights in the event you file a personal injury lawsuit for the dog attack. Take photos of the wound before it is treated, and if you think of it, you should take a photo of the dog.

Bear in mind that if the dog’s owner is found, his or her insurance company will likely contact you to quickly settle the case. The insurance company will want to pay you the smallest amount possible to settle, and you need to remember not to do or say or sign anything until you have sought legal counsel. The last thing you will want to do is say something that will ultimately result in your inadvertently waiving your right to file a personal injury claim.

Common sense and caution should always be used around dogs that you don’t know. Even the most well-mannered dog has the propensity to become aggressive, so it’s always best to teach your children how to treat animals and to never approach an animal they don’t know. If you do become the victim of a dog attack, remember to immediately contact a personal injury attorney who is experienced in these types of lawsuits.