Did you know that over 4.5 million dog bite incidents are reported annually in the United States? Even though dogs are known as our best friends, they can sometimes get out of control and might end up attacking or biting a third person.
Suffering from a dog bite can be a traumatic experience, leaving physical, emotional, and legal challenges in its wake. At Newland & Newland, LLP, we understand the complexities that come with such incidents. This step-by-step guide aims to help you understand the necessary actions after a dog bite, safeguarding your health, well-being, and legal rights.
Step 1: Prioritize Your Health and Safety
Your well-being takes precedence immediately following a dog bite. Taking these steps can help prevent complications:
● Seek Immediate Medical Attention: Regardless of the bite’s severity, it’s essential to clean the wound thoroughly with soap and water to reduce the risk of infection. For serious injuries such as puncture wounds, seek professional medical care promptly.
● Document the Wound: Capture clear photographs of the bite wound before cleaning it. These images can serve as vital evidence should the need for legal action arise. If you cannot do it yourself, ask your healthcare provider or loved one to do it.
● Adhere to Medical Advice: Comply with any recommendations from medical professionals. This could involve wound care instructions, antibiotics, and follow-up appointments to monitor your healing progress.
Step 2: Identify the Dog and Owner
Similar to an automobile crash, identifying and communicating with the owner is essential. Start by gathering accurate information about the dog and its owner is pivotal for potential legal actions:
● Collect Owner’s Details: Obtain the owner’s name, contact information, address, and insurance number. Additionally, note down details about the dog’s breed, size, and any distinguishing features.
● Verify Rabies Vaccination: Request proof of the dog’s rabies vaccination from the owner. This information is crucial for both your health and potential legal proceedings.
● Record Witness Information: If there were witnesses present during the incident, collect their contact information. Their statements could prove valuable if legal action becomes necessary.
Step 3: Report the Dog Bite Incident
Promptly reporting the incident to the appropriate authorities ensures documentation of the event:
● Contact Local Authorities: Notify local animal control or the police per your jurisdiction’s requirements. Their official report can play a significant role in your case.
● File an Official Incident Report: If animal control is involved, make sure they file an official incident report. Request a copy for your records.
Step 4: Preserve Evidence
Preserving evidence can strengthen your case and provide insight into the circumstances surrounding the dog bite:
● Photograph the Scene: Take photographs of the location where the incident occurred. These images can provide context and aid in understanding the situation.
● Document Personal Effects: Safely keep the clothing and personal items you wore during the incident. These items could serve as evidence of the severity of the attack.
Step 5: Consult Legal Counsel
Enlisting the help of an experienced personal injury attorney is essential for navigating the legal complexities of dog bite incidents:
● Contact an Attorney: Reach out to a knowledgeable personal injury attorney with expertise in dog bite cases. They can offer tailored guidance based on your circumstances.
● Provide Detailed Information: Share all relevant information with your attorney, including medical records, photographs, witness statements, and any other documentation related to the incident.
Step 6: Notify Insurance Companies
Engaging with insurance companies correctly can streamline the compensation process:
● Inform Homeowner’s Insurance: If applicable, notify the dog owner’s homeowner’s insurance company about the incident. They may cover medical expenses and other damages resulting from the dog bite.
However, it is advised to consult with a dog bite attorney before communicating with any insurance company. They can help ensure that your statements are accurate and do not jeopardize your case.
Step 7: Consider Legal Action
According to state law, the statute of limitations for a dog bite case is 2 years after the incident. Thus, exploring legal avenues as early as possible is necessary to secure fair compensation for your losses:
● Negotiation Attempts: Your attorney may initiate negotiations with the dog owner’s insurance company to reach a satisfactory settlement that covers your medical expenses, pain and suffering, and other damages.
● Potential Lawsuit: If negotiations stall, your attorney might recommend filing a personal injury lawsuit against the dog owner. This decision will depend on the specifics of your case.
Step 8: Document Your Recovery
There’s no case without evidence. Therefore, maintaining detailed records of your recovery process is crucial for building a strong case:
● Document All Aspects: Keep a comprehensive record of medical treatments, appointments, expenses, and any changes in your physical and emotional well-being following the incident.
● Follow Medical Recommendations: Continue adhering to your healthcare provider’s advice to ensure a thorough recovery and to demonstrate your commitment to your health.
Dog Bite Lawsuit | Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q: What Is the Minimum Compensation Amount in Dog Bite Lawsuit?
Like other lawsuits, the compensation amount will depend upon the extent of the injury and the state rules. The financial award will be decided based on the lost workdays, medical bills, and emotional distress and suffering.
Q: Who Will Pay for the Dog Bite Injury?
The dog owner or insurance company will pay for the injury.
Q: Can I Sue the Owner If Their Dog Attacks Me?
Yes, you can file a lawsuit against a dog that attacked you. However, note that some states follow the “one-bite” rule, which protects the dog and the owner if there is a legit reason for the dog’s vicious behavior.
Hire Newland & Newland, LLP – Your Trusted Dog Bite Lawyers in Arlington Heights
Facing the aftermath of a dog bite incident is never easy. Fortunately, with Newland & Newland, LLP by your side, you don’t have to go through it alone. Our dog bite attorneys are here to provide expert legal guidance and support tailored to your needs. We are dedicated to helping victims like you secure the compensation and justice you deserve.
Want to schedule a consultation in Arlington Heights, Chicago, Libertyville, Crystal Lake, Joliet, or Itasca? Click here to talk to a personal injury lawyer, and let us help you reclaim control over your recovery journey.