Dogs are considered man’s best friend. Though domesticated, they are still animals and can act unpredictably. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 4.5 million dog bites occur every year. While only 2% of dog bite victims require hospitalization, these more serious events can be life changing. For example, an Illinois woman lost most of her nose in an unprovoked attack by a dog in February. The woman ended up needing more than 100 stitches and will likely undergo more reparative surgeries in the future. Dogs can also unintentionally cause harm to children, especially young children.
Not only have dog adoptions surged during the pandemic, increasing your chances of having a negative encounter with a dog, but you are more likely to be bit by a dog during the warmer months when more people are actively outside. No one wants to think about being harmed by our furry friends, but if an incident were to occur, seek appropriate medical care and then be prepared to do the following:
Identify the Dog and its Owner
The most crucial step is to identify the dog and its owner, especially in more serious incidents where the owner’s insurance company is typically held responsible for the payment of medical treatment, pain and suffering, disability, and/or scarring.
You should attempt to obtain names, addresses, any records pertaining to prior incidents with the animal, and proof of rabies vaccination. If proof of vaccination cannot be obtained, you may have to undergo a series of painful and expensive rabies shots. Rabies is a very serious and potentially deadly condition.
You should also take a picture of the dog, as well as your injuries, for your records.
Gather Information and File a Report
You or a friend should attempt to get the contact information of anyone who witnessed the incident. These accounts are extremely important should there be a dispute with the dog owner.
Once this information is collected, you should file a report with your local animal control organization. This legally documents your case, opens an investigation, and aids potential victims who may be attacked by the same dog.
After taking a picture of your injuries and receiving medical attention, write down everything that occurred leading up to, during, and after the incident. You should write down everything as soon as possible to ensure accurate recollection.
Contact an Attorney
In order to prove a case against the dog owner’s insurance company, essentially all that needs to be proved is that you were a victim of an unprovoked bite and/or attack. However, depending on your case’s nuances and facts, monetary recovery may not be allowed. Do not delay— contact McNabola Law Group for a free consultation to discuss your rights.