Dog Attacks and Bites: Personal Injury Claims & Lawsuits
Being attacked and/or bitten by a dog is a scary situation, and it can be difficult to figure out if the owner is liable for any injuries, medical costs and other damages you sustain. Determining when you should contact a personal injury lawyer to handle your claim can be the differentiating factor in whether or not you are fairly compensated for a dog attack or dog bite injury.
Should I Contact a Lawyer for a Dog Attack Injury?
To help assess the need for a personal injury lawyer, see if you answer “yes” to any of the following questions:
- Did the dog attack or dog bite result in long-term or permanent medical issues?
- Was the dog attack unprovoked?
- Did the dog attack occur on public property?
- Did the owner violate a local “leash law” when the attack occurred?
- Was the dog attack perpetrated by a Pit Bull Terrier or Rottweiler?
- Does the dog that committed the attack have a prior history of bites and/or attacks?
Note that if a dog attack led to death, you may be entitled to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
Steps to Take After a Dog Attack or Dog Bite
Get dog owner’s information — Regardless of initial intent, after a dog attack occurs it is important to get the dog owner’s name and contact information. It also may be wise to take a picture of the owner and dog for future reference, especially if you’re worried that they provided false information.
Identify witnesses — If there are witnesses to the dog attack (other than the owner), make sure and get their names and contact information. Witnesses may play a key role in backing up your version of the dog attack if it differs from the owner’s story.
Get medical treatment — If you are injured by a dog bite or dog attack, visit a healthcare professional as soon as possible. When you visit a doctor or the emergency room, make sure that you explain how you were injured so that proper records are taken of your injury and how it occurred.
Document medical expenses — If you are going to file a lawsuit for a dog attack/dog bite injury, make sure to document all of the medical expenses associated with the treatment of your injuries. Expenses to document include medical bills, prescription costs and insurance co-pays.
Report the dog attack to animal control — After a dog attack, promptly report the incident to local animal control authorities. This is particularly important if the dog did not have any tags or you were unable to locate the owner.
Check animal control records for prior attacks — It is a good idea to check with local animal control to see if there are any previous documented attacks by the dog in question. If so, that could be very useful in negotiating with the owner or winning a court case.
Keep records of all accident-related items — After a dog attack or dog bite injury, it is important to document the accident, injuries and other related conversations, paperwork and expenses. Maintaining records and keeping everything organized is useful for any claims or lawsuits that result.
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