As we've seen in the news, dog bite attacks can be a painful and debilitating experience. And they can seemingly spring out of nowhere. Oftentimes, those bitten in a dog attack don't have the presence of mind to get all of the information at the scene they will need to recover damages should injuries be severe. A simple dog bite can lead to more serious medical conditions ( i.e. rabies or infection) and what was first a puncture wound is now requiring hundreds or thousands of dollars in medical treatment and a considerable amount of pain and discomfort on your part.
It's difficult after the fact to obtain all the information you need to file an effective personal injury claim in these cases if you don't have all the facts. So try to remember to secure the following at the scene should you ever be involved in a dog bite attack.
First and foremost, file a police report. Get the name, address and phone number of the dog's owner: It's important to know whom to contact should your injuries be more serious than they first appear after a dog bite. Weeks after the attack, your medical condition could get worse. You want to be able to ensure that the dog in question has been inoculated for rabies, for instance.
Get the names and phone numbers of any witnesses on the scene: It's important to have witnesses that can corroborate your version of the events should this matter be litigated and you and the dog's owner disagree. Remember that a preponderance of the evidence is the burden of proof on civil cases. So having an impartial witness speaks volumes.
Get medical care: See a doctor if you have any suspicion that your injuries might be serious. Furthermore, keep accurate records and copies of all expenses incurred. You will need this should you end up filing a personal injury claim.
Report the animal to animal control: Animal control can take the steps necessary to secure the animal or observe it for rabies.
It's also important to contact an experiences personal injury attorney to ensure you understand who is liable in your case and what damages may be recovered.
In some instances, the individual who owned the animal may be liable, however, if someone else had charge of or control over the dog, he or she may be liable, as well. Keep in mind, though, that you may be responsible for your own injuries and merit no claim in the eyes of the courts if it is proved that you trespassed onto private property and/or provoked the animal. There are exceptions to that defense (i.e. a minor).
An experienced personal injury attorney, like those at Panio law offices in Homewood and Chicago, will be able to ascertain your legal position and advise filing a claim. Our offices offer personal injury lawyers that fully understand applicable state and municipal codes that govern liability in these cases.
If you find yourself the victim of a dog attack, don't hesitate to call Panio Law Offices at (312) 313-0305. We can help.