What Should I Do After a Dog Bite Injury?

Dog bite injuries are all too common and can disrupt the lives of the victims. We love dogs as much as anyone but they can be dangerous animals at the end of the day. A dog’s jaw contains serious power and can inflict very serious injuries on the victim of the bite. If you or a loved one was bitten by a dog, there’s probably tons of questions floating around your head about what you should do next. Here’s some of the most important things you should do after a dog bite injury. 

What To Do After a Dog Bite Injury

Seek Medical Treatment for the Victim

The most important thing you should do after a dog bite injury is seek medical treatment. The injured victim should see a medical professional as soon as possible after the bite. Time is of the essence especially when faced with the high potential of infection that can exacerbate the issue. You should always have the bite evaluated even if at first you think it’s not a big deal. Dog bites can lead to more serious injuries if not treated by a professional promptly. Until the victim has seen a medical professional and recovered from the injuries fully, there’s nothing more important after a dog bite injury.

Gather Evidence to Strengthen Your Case

Gathering evidence in a dog bite case is essential in strengthening your case and presenting the most comprehensive demand for compensation. The evidence gathered after a dog bite injury includes:
  1. An incident report to the reporting agency;
  2. All witness’s names, addresses and telephone numbers including the owner of the dog, and the location of the dog bite;
  3. Photographs and video of the scene if you can do so safely;
  4. Photographs of the injuries before and after the bite;
  5. All medical documentation from treatment obtained and medical bills;
  6. Confirmation of wage loss through the victim’s employer;
  7. A diary of your pain and suffering. 

Identifying Responsible Parties

When looking at liability in a dog bite case, the owner is responsible for the actions of their dog. You must get the name, address, and telephone number of the dog owner. You must also get the property address. Once you have identified the owner, you will proceed under their homeowner’s insurance policy for your damages. The owner may, however, have defenses of trespass, provocation, or teasing which may prevent them from liability. Once you identify the owner, you should contact a dog bite injury attorney to discuss the case.

Generate Evidence of Damages and Treatment

Receiving full compensation for your dog bite case requires you to maintain a clear and accurate medical trail. That requires you to keep complete records from the date of your injury to when you are released. This medical trail will allow you to calculate the full and complete extent of your damages and losses. A personal injury attorney will accomplish this for you as part of the file of the case. They will take photographs of your injuries, retrieve all medical records and bills, and obtain a loss of employment letter from your employer. They will request you to keep a diary which they can use later on to recall all your pain and suffering. Once you have retrieved everything, your attorney will work with you and calculate the full extent of your damages and losses, providing you with a range of compensation for settlement of your case.

Prepare for Negotiated Settlement or Litigation

Dog bite injury claims where liability is established are typically handled under the dog owner’s homeowner’s insurance policy. Under that policy, the owner of the dog through their insurance will cover medical bills, lost wages, scarring, and pain and suffering if they are liable for the injury caused by their dog biting someone. If you contact the owner of the dog and they inform their insurance company after the bite, an adjuster will be assigned to the case. It is important to understand that this adjuster works for the insurance company that should be paying the victim compensation and they do not represent the injured victim. This is why it’s incredibly important to hire someone that represents your best interest after a dog bite so they can protect your rights and fight for full and fair compensation. We’ve seen countless times where clients have been offered low value for their injury cases only to find out later after hiring a lawyer and fully evaluating their case that they were not being made a fair offer.

About the Authors: Sawan & Sawan is a multi-generational, family owned law firm practicing law in the areas of car accidents, truck accidents, and other personal injury. Our firm practices law in Ohio, Georgia, and Michigan.

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Dennis P. Sawan

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Chris Sawan

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