In many cases, when a dog bite attack occurs, the dog's owner is likely held responsible. But it is not always the case. It is always important to get the circumstances of the incident documented to establish the facts of the case. Establishing the facts surrounding the incident, however, is not always top of mind when it occurs.
Typically, emotions are heightened. Many of the steps you should take to support a strong claim for personal injury damages are neglected, and it becomes increasingly more difficult to prove your case. Here are some essential steps individuals should take when suffering a dog bite:
Get Names and Phone Numbers of the Owner and Witnesses
Even if you don't suspect that you will be requesting any money it is important to recover the names of the owner/handler of the dog in question and any witnesses to the incident. In the heat of the moment, it's difficult to think with a clear head. After some time has passed and you have had an opportunity to realize your injuries, you may want to seek medical attention. Even if the dog has not bitten you during the incident, sometimes fleeing a lunging dog may cause injuries (eg. sprains or hyper-extensions). Dog owners may be held responsible for these in addition to any dog bites you suffer.
Witnesses may be relied upon to support your version of the incident if it differs from that of the dog owner.
If you don't know the name of the dog owner, contact animal control authorities for assistance. They may be able to track down the owner from prior incident records.
Get Medical Attention If You Need It
Should you injuries be serious enough, it's important to seek medical care right away. Like any other serious injury, dog bites can get progressively worse without treatment. Be sure you keep records of all medical treatment and visits. Medical reimbursement is nearly impossible without medical bills that document your treatment.
Report the Dog Bite to Animal Control
Reporting the incident to animal control authorities becomes extremely important in dog bite cases since in many cases, dogs who bite have a history of attacks. If that is the case, it's likely animal control will have a record of that. If the dog was not accompanied by a handler or owner and has a dog license or tag, animal control should be able to help track down the owner.
City authorities will also be able to pick up the dog and quarantine it to ascertain whether or not it has rabies. Quarantines may take up to 20 days (either at the dog owner's home or in a dog pound).
If you have been the victim of a dog bite attack, it's important for you to follow these steps to get medical help, document the names of witnesses and notify authorities of the dog bite.
It's also important to contact a practiced personal injury attorney like those of Panio Law who have experience fighting to recover damages in these kinds of cases. We will work to secure the compensation you need to cover necessary medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering, when necessary.
Call our offices today at (708) 928-8680. We can help.