Dog Bites & Legal Consequences: 6 Legal Tips to Help You

Dog bites can bring forth excruciating pain, but when this unfortunate incident stems from the negligence of the dog’s owner, you may be eligible for a claim to help with your injuries. However, you need to be aware of the legalities surrounding these cases. This article lists some helpful legal tips to consider regarding dog bites.

Get Medical Treatment

One of the first things you need to do when you get bitten by a dog is to get yourself checked. An emergency responder will provide you with first aid treatment. This can include controlling the bleeding by applying gentle pressure on the wound area and cleaning the wound using mild soap and water. Expect them to use antibiotic ointment to prevent infection after cleaning the wound. However, this is just the initial step. You still need to go to a proper dog bite clinic to have yourself checked. The medical practitioners there will assess your wound and provide the appropriate treatment based on the severity of your injury. Seasoned lawyers from a reputable personal injury law firm suggest you keep copies of all your medical records. You may need to present this essential evidence later to substantiate your claim. If you fail to get proper medical attention, not only will you risk aggravating your injuries, but you won’t have the documentation necessary to prove your eligibility for a personal injury claim, for which dog bites are categorized.

Report the Incident

Another thing you need to do if ever you get bitten by a dog is to report the incident to the proper authorities. For instance, you can contact the animal control enforcers to report that a dog has bitten you. Specify the time and place the incident happened and describe the circumstances. For instance, you may simply be walking to work or jogging, and suddenly, an unfamiliar dog comes up and attacks you. Go into the details so that these can be part of the report. From there, secure a copy of the report because this can also be another piece of evidence you can attach to your claim. This will help ensure that the dog’s owner will be held accountable should sufficient evidence prove negligence.

Identify the Dog Owner

As soon as you have filed the necessary report regarding the incident, you need to take the time to identify the dog owner. Try to obtain their contact details, including their insurance details, if they are willing to provide them. However, if you cannot find the dog owner, try to gather as much information as possible about the dog, noting where the incident happened, and trace the dog’s owner. Seek help from the people living within the area or research shelters within the vicinity because it can be that the dog may have escaped from a shelter.

Gather Evidence

A constructive tip when it comes to dog bite incidents is getting evidence. Begin collating the medical bills and records related to your dog bite injuries. Take pictures of your injuries to be attached to your medical records, too. You should also keep a copy of the incident report outlining the details surrounding the incident. However, apart from these documents, you should also take pictures of the scene, such as where the incident happened, or if possible, take a photo of the dog. Take note if there are warning signs within the vicinity indicating the presence of a dangerous dog or inadequate fencing surrounding the property. Also, investigate whether the dog wears a collar or a tag. If there were witnesses to the incident, obtain their contact information and try to get their statement.

Know Your Rights

As a dog bite victim, you must assert your rights. However, this is only possible if you are aware of your rights. In this case, it will help if you familiarize yourself with the local laws regarding dog bites within your vicinity. Specific rules may vary from one area to another, such that if you get bitten in another state, the regulations in your home state may be deemed inapplicable. Some areas also impose strict liability laws regarding personal injuries, including dog bites. In these areas, dog owners are held accountable for any injuries caused by their canines. However, in other places, the owners may only be held responsible should they fail to restrict their dogs.

On the other hand, if you are a dog owner, you should also know your rights and responsibilities. Cooperate with the authorities during the investigation and provide them with any necessary information. Depending on the incident’s circumstances, prepare yourself because you may be liable for the injuries your canine has caused, covering the victim’s medical expenses and lost wages. Rest assured that if you have liability insurance, you may be financially protected should the victim pursue a lawsuit.

Consult a Lawyer

Finally, regardless of whether you are a dog bite victim or you are the owner of a canine who bit another individual, it will help if you consult a lawyer to be enlightened about the legal intricacies surrounding the incident. As a dog bite victim, a lawyer can help in asserting your rights, ensuring you get fair compensation to aid you financially for your injuries. On the other hand, if you are the owner of the canine who bit another person, a reliable lawyer can help with the settlement process, mitigating the victim from pursuing a lawsuit should you be able to come to amenable terms. However, not all lawyers can offer the same level of service and expertise so you have to be selective of the legal practitioner you work with to ensure the best possible outcomes for your case.

When you have been a dog bite victim, seek immediate medical attention and report the incident to the proper authorities. As soon as your injuries are addressed, take the time to identify the dog owner and gather sufficient evidence that can help back your claim later on. You need to assert your rights, so getting a reliable lawyer’s help will prove beneficial. Rest assured that you can get through this trying time with the proper support.