More than 4.5 million Americans get bitten by dogs every year. Dog bites can result in serious injuries and require extensive treatment. It's normal to feel overwhelmed and scared after you've been bitten by someone else's dog. However, in order to obtain fair compensation for your injuries, you must take the appropriate steps after the incident.
Here are seven things to do after getting bitten by a dog.
Identify the Dog and Its Owner
The first thing you need to do is identify the dog that bit you and its owner. Find out the owner's name and contact information. Also, you may want to obtain the dog's license information and find out more details about its history. For example, you may want to ask the owner if the dog has bitten anyone in the past or if it is considered a dangerous animal or not.
Talk to Witnesses
If there were other people who witnessed you getting bitten by a dog, don't hesitate to ask for their names and contact information. They can tell the court what they saw and strengthen the validity of your case.
If you are physically able, remember to take clear photos of the location of the attack. If it happened outside of someone's house, for example, take clear shots of the outside of the home and yard. You may also want to take several photos of the injuries you suffered during the attack. If you can't take the photos on your own, don't hesitate to ask a bystander for assistance.
Get Medical Care
Dog bites can result in serious complications if they are not treated promptly. For example, if the wound becomes infected and doctors aren't able to cure the infection quickly enough, amputation may be necessary. Permanent scars are another complication of dog bite wounds. These scars can negatively affect your appearance and be a constant reminder of the traumatic experience.
That's why it's important to see a doctor about your injuries as soon as possible. He or she can examine the extent of your injuries and recommend the appropriate treatment.
File a Dog Bite Report
Even if you are friends with the owner of the dog that bit you, you should still file a dog bite report with your local animal control agency. If you plan to pursue compensation for your medical bills, you will need this legal documentation to prove that you were actually bitten by the dog.
Filing a dog bite report also forces local authorities to thoroughly investigate the incident. If they find the dog to be dangerous, they can demand the owner to purchase special insurance for the canine.
Follow Your Doctor's Orders
Whether your doctor has recommended medication or surgery to treat your dog bite wounds, you should follow his or her advice. Go to all of your follow-up appointments and inform your doctor about any changes to your condition. If you fail to follow your doctor's orders, insurance adjusters may think you're not actually injured and try to deny you compensation.
Hire a Lawyer
A dog bite lawsuit can be a complicated process, so it's in your best interest to work with an experienced personal injury lawyer. He or she can help you build a strong case against the dog owner and negotiate a fair settlement with the insurance company. If a fair settlement can't be reached out of court, a reputable personal injury lawyer is willing to fight hard for you at trial.
If you are looking for a personal injury lawyer to handle your dog bite claim, contact Gordon & Pont PC. We'll be happy to meet with you and see how we can help.