Dogs have been human companions for thousands of years. They can be trained to do many important tasks, like guide the blind, search for drugs or bombs, and guard property. Many are loved family members who are playmates for children. Like the people they keep company, dogs can be your friend, your family or your hero, and others can be a real danger to you.
Dogs bite millions of people each year. While some are innocent puppy bites, other dog bites can cause a serious injury as well as the accompanying psychological trauma. This can lead to expensive medical bills, physical scars, and pain and suffering that lingers long after the attack.
What to do if a dog bites someone
The first job is separating the dog from the victim. If the dog’s owner is present, they are often the best person to do this. The second is to check for serious injury and call 911 if necessary. The victim, or a parent, family member, or friend who is there should also take the following steps:
- Go to the Hospital: Dog bites are puncture wounds, which are difficult to treat and could lead to infection, particularly if the dog does not have its required shots. A trip to the ER will also document the injury, so be sure to give accurate information at the hospital for your health and to preserve your rights.
- Take Photographs: If you are able to do so safely, be sure to photograph the dog who attacked you and your injuries. These photographs serve as powerful evidence to support your claim and maximize your recovery.
- Exchange Information: As with a car accident, the owners, victims and witnesses should exchange information. That includes the person’s name, the dog’s name, address, and contact information.
- Notify Animal Control: As with humans, dogs need to be reported to the authorities, who can then determine if any penalties are necessary against the owner. It may also strengthen a case if there is an injury lawsuit.
Contact an attorney
Attorneys who handle dog bite injuries can be a tremendous help to the victim and their family. If the insurance company disputes how the accident happened or how bad the injuries are, it may be necessary to file a personal injury lawsuit to secure damages for the victim, including compensation for loss of income during recovery, related medical expenses, and pain and suffering. However, if you do not involve an attorney early on in the process, it will be harder for that attorney to protect your interests. The attorneys at Goldstein, Ballen, O’Rourke & Wildstein, P.C. have decades of experience handling dog bite cases and are ready to discuss your accident at a free initial consultation.