A dog attack or bite is a specific type of personal injury. According to statistics from the CDC, as many as four million people sustain dog bites every year in the United States. A dog bite can be very serious if not dealt with properly, both medically and legally. There are specific things that you need to do in order to be reimbursed for your hospital and medical bills, pain and suffering, and any disabilities or disfiguration that may result from being bitten by a dog.
If you are bitten, whether you think it is serious or not, you should always follow certain rules and procedures. What appears on the surface to be a minor incident could escalate quickly. Dog bites carry specific bacteria that can lead to more serious illnesses if not treated correctly. There are 5 mistakes that you can make that will hurt your chances of being properly reimbursed should you be attacked by a dog. Be sure not to make them.
Skip medical treatment
Too often, people believe that a minor bite isn’t anything serious. The problem is that the bacteria that comes from a dog bite can get very serious very quickly, if not immediately medically addressed. If you are bitten, don’t assume that it won’t amount to much and fail to seek medical care.
Any bite from an animal should be washed and attended to by a medical professional. A dog bite infection can worsen very quickly, and you can find yourself with a deadly infection. Not only do you need a tetanus shot, but you also need to check and make sure the dog’s rabies vaccination is up to date, and there is still the possibility of MRSA or other types of deadly bacterial agents.
Worst case scenario, if something should happen, you want to make sure that you have the proper medical documentation that will help your case in court if you should have to sue for medical treatment or worse.
Not calling law enforcement
When you are bitten by a dog, whether it is a neighbor’s dog or a stranger’s, it is imperative that you have a police report filled out. Often, people don’t want to get law enforcement involved, especially if you know the dog’s owner. The problem is that if something should come as a result of bite, then you will need the proper documentation to help prove your case in court. Call 911 if you are bitten by a dog, and then you will have both medical attention and law enforcement to provide the necessary documentation.
Not taking photos
In the age of cell phones, it is crucial that you take a picture of the bite. Don’t wait until it is healed or nearly healed before you get a picture. When you are bitten, immediately document the bite with pictures. They will be a necessary component in your case if it should go to court. Pictures are always worth a thousand words.
Get witness accounts
If you are with someone when you are bitten, it is critical that you get witness accounts in writing. It can be hard to remember events after the fact as time passes. Having a documented account from both parties and any eyewitnesses will add strength to your case. Make sure to get contact information from strangers, just in case questions arise later on.
Not hiring a personal injury Lawyer
Most people think that they can handle a minor dog bite on their own, and they don’t protect themselves by hiring an attorney. Even if you choose not to bring the case to court, having someone at the start will help to safeguard you if something more should come from it. There is usually no charge for a consultation, and it is always better to have someone on your side from the outset, rather than to try to play catch-up if things get out of hand. A personal injury lawyer will ensure that you don’t make any of the mistakes above or any that aren’t included here.
A dog bite can sometimes be minor but can turn into something very major. Make sure not to make the mistakes above by hiring a personal injury lawyer early on. Even if nothing comes of it, you have the assurance that you are protected if something should go awry.