18th December 2020
A dog bite can leave victims with hundreds to thousands of dollars in damages. Here’s what to do for your dog bite injury claim.
Dogs are well known for being loving and loyal pets. That could explain why over 38% of American households have a dog. Though dogs may have earned their reputation as man’s best friend, not every canine is domesticated and safe around people. Every day in the United States, approximately 1,000 citizens receive emergency medical treatment due to dog bites. The recovery process can be as expensive as it is painful. The costs of medications, reconstructive surgeries, and doctors’ visits quickly add up. Taking the following steps can help to mitigate your losses.
Identify the Dog’s Owner
There is a good chance you already know the dog owner. That’s because over 50% of dog bite victims are familiar with the dog that attacked them. If not, find out who is looking after the dog. In most situations, this person will be the dog owner. However, it could be another handler like a professional dog walker or a friend. If you’ve been bitten by a dog on the loose, tracking down the dog owner is more complicated, especially if your injuries are severe. Ask a friend or bystander to help with locating the owner.
Get contact information from the person who is responsible for handling the dog. Collect a first and last name, phone number, address, and insurance information. The dog owner’s home insurance will often cover dog bites. After an attack, the owner should take the dog to a veterinarian to test for rabies and notify the health department of concerning results. With the contact information, you can reach out for an update in the following days.
Receive Medical Care
Close to 20% of dog bite victims need medical care. Even if the bite appears treatable at home, seek medical attention as soon as possible. Infections from bacteria like capnocytophaga are common with dog bites. They can even be deadly. Thirty percent of severe capnocytophaga infections end fatally. A simple antibiotic prescription could save your life.
Additionally, receiving medical care is important in laying the groundwork for your personal injury claim. Your medical records can serve as proof that the dog bite is the sole cause of your injuries. Prompt medical care also demonstrates that your injuries are serious. This is crucial since insurance companies may try to dismiss your claim.
File a Report
Report the dog bite to animal control. If you or a witness to the attack calls the police, the officer will more than likely file the report. However, it is still in your best interest to file your own report as well. Taking this extra step will create further documentation for your insurance claim and personal injury case. Local animal control officers are familiar with city ordinances and restrictions pet owners should be observing. Their expertise can help to show a dog owner’s negligence. If a dog owner isn’t present at the time of the attack, animal control can safely read the dog tags and locate the owner. Filing a report could also protect other people from that dog in the future since an ill or violent dog may have to be euthanized.
Gather as much information as you can about the dog, the scene of the attack, and anyone who witnessed it. If the incident happened at a park, there is a strong chance that several people took pictures or videos of their outing. Any footage of the attack can strengthen your claim. Even photos of the dog alone may help to prove negligence. For instance, different cities and counties within North Dakota have breed-specific laws. Some breeds are even banned.
Witnesses can also tell you whether they noticed that the dog was behaving aggressively beforehand. If the attack happened in a residential area, speak to neighbors. Neighbors can provide helpful insights even if they didn’t witness the attack. They may be able to tell you whether the dog has a history of aggressive behavior as well as whether the owner is neglectful.
Take pictures of your injuries the day you are bitten as well as during the healing process. The extent of some injuries is immediately obvious. Other conditions like bruises and scars may not appear to be severe right away. Keeping a photo journal will help you to capture your injury at its worst. Your photos can also help to show how lengthy and painful your recovery is. This can increase the amount of compensation you can collect for your pain and suffering.
Take notes about your firsthand experience of the incident. For instance, jot down details about the pet owner’s level of attentiveness and actions at the time of the attack. Pet owners have a duty of care to prevent their animals from causing harm. In some locations, such as Watford City, this includes keeping the dog on a leash or electric collar. Any details that show a pet owner’s negligence will strengthen your personal injury claim.
Contact a Dog Bite Attorney
If you or a loved one has suffered a dog bite injury, a personal injury attorney can help you to get the resources that you need to heal. The attorneys of Sand Law are experts at investigating dog bite injuries and evaluating pertinent evidence. We won’t rest until we have secured the best possible compensation for you. For a free initial case evaluation, call us at 701-609-1510 or contact us online.