Steps to Take After Being Bitten By a Dog
Every year, dogs bite 4.5 million people in America. As a result, between 6,000 and 13,000 people are rushed to the emergency room. The dogs that are most responsible for these bites and injuries are pit bulls, mixed breeds, and German shepherds.
Steps to Take After a Dog Bites You
After a dog bites or injures you, you have several steps that you must take immediately. These include the following:
Take Down the Dog Owner’s Name and Telephone Number
You do not necessarily need to decide to sue the dog’s owner right after you have been injured by a dog, but you might think that it is a good idea one or two days later. That is when you may discover that running away from the dog caused you to fall and really hurt yourself. Also, ask the owner whether or not they have homeowners’ insurance.
Take Down Any Witnesses’ Names and Telephone Numbers
If you and the dog owner disagree on the events, witnesses will come in handy. You might also need witnesses if the owner of the dog is not clear. You may need to describe the animal to animal control so that these officials can find the dog.
Take Photographs of the Dog and Your Injuries
If you can get a photograph of the dog, try to do this. Also, take pictures of your injuries. Take photos of anything that can back up your version of events. For example, there may be an open gate that allowed the dog to escape.
Go to the Emergency Room or See Your Doctor
If you have a serious enough injury, obtain medical attention as soon as possible. The emergency room and your doctor’s office will keep records of your visit, and you will be able to get copies of your medical bills.
Report the Dog Bite to Animal Control
The most important time to do this is if the dog that attacked you was not wearing a collar and the owner was not present. Some cities require a dog that bites a human being to remain in quarantine until they can find out if it has rabies, so the authorities will want to find the dog for that reason. You can also find out from the authorities if this particular canine has bitten anyone before. This information will benefit your case if you file a claim or sue the owner.
If you were bitten by someone else’s dog, it is a wise idea to contact a personal injury lawyer. Your attorney will know the laws in your area that apply to your situation, and they will tell you what you need to do from this point on.
Homeowners’ and Renters’ Insurance Policies
Both homeowners’ and renters’ insurance policies have provisions for dog bites and the damages that dogs cause to property. The standard policy is usually sufficient to cover the damages after the owner has been found to be negligent in the dog’s actions.
Homeowners’ and renters’ insurance policies also cover the damages that dogs cause when they are outside of the house. Therefore, if you were in a park or on the sidewalk when the dog attacked you, the insurance policy will cover the damages.
People are legally responsible for keeping their animals from hurting other people or destroying their property. If this occurs, the dog’s owner will be liable for paying your medical bills, any lost wages if you had to miss work, and paying an amount to compensate you for pain and suffering. Your personal injury lawyer may file a civil lawsuit against the dog’s owner if at least one of the following occurs:
- In most states, there are strict liability laws that make an animal’s owner financially responsible for the damages caused by the dog whether you were determined to be partially at fault or not.
- You can demonstrate in a court of law that the dog’s owner knew that the dog had the propensity to injure someone.
- You can demonstrate in a court of law that the dog’s owner did not have the dog on a leash or left the gate open so that the dog could escape.
If you need to hire a personal injury lawyer, contact us at the law firm of Rebenack Aronow & Mascolo at (732) 247-3600 in New Brunswick or (908) 448-2560 in Somerville.