Every day about 1,000 people report to the Hospital requiring care for a serious dog bite. There are a number of circumstances in which dog bites occur. You can be at a stranger’s home and their dog bites you, you can be walking down the street and a dog comes from a residence and attacks you or you can be providing professional services to someone at their home and you are attacked by their dog while performing the services you were hired to perform. What do you do if you are a dog bite victim?
The first thing that you need to do is get medical attention. Dog bites tend to leave significant puncture wounds and scarring. Depending on the size and strength of the dog, the bite can really cause significant damage that may require stitches or even surgical intervention to repair the injury. Additionally, if you are bitten by the dog on the face or other visible part of your body, a plastic surgeon may be necessary due a procedure to lessen the visibility of the scarring and injury because scarring can cause psychological and self-esteem issues.
Additionally, taking pictures of your injuries always helps, because, as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. If you can take pictures of the injury, ie. bite marks, puncture wounds, bleeding, etc., shortly after the incident occurs and prior to receiving medical attention, that would be ideal. However, it would also be wise to take pictures of your injuries during the healing process to show how the injury is progressing.
Although it is not the first thing most people think about, after you’ve been the victim of a dog bite, you need to contact and personal injury attorney who handles dog bite claims like the attorneys here at SMDA. We can guide you through the process, answer any questions you have along the way, and ensure that you get the just compensation that you deserve.
Homeowners insurance generally provides coverage to owners of dogs for harm caused by their dog. There are a few exceptions, but this is generally the case. Therefore, you will also need to make a claim with the homeowners insurance company of the owner of the dog. It is obviously vital that the owner of the dog can be identified in order to notify the proper insurance company.
Also, keep in mind that a dog doesn’t have to actually bite you to have a claim against the owner of the dog. If the owner knew that the dog had dangerous propensities, they can be held liable for harm caused by their dog based on those propensities. For example, if you are walking down the street and a dog is running at you and barking and you attempt to run, then fall and injure yourself in the process, and the dog never actually bites you, you have an action against the owner of the dog for their negligent ownership of the dog. This is based on the fact that they knew their dog had these dangerous propensities. These type of “dog fright” cases are also compensable.
Lawsuits against an owner of a dog for causing injury to you must be commenced within 3 years from the date the incident happened. Therefore, in order to recover compensation from the insurance company, a lawsuit must be filed within 3 years from the date of the incident or the claim is forever barred.
In any event, contacting the attorneys at SMDA after you’ve been the victim of a dog bite or dog attack is the best decision you can make following the incident.