For the most part, dogs are wonderful companions to us and are usually friendly towards people and other dogs. Unfortunately, some dogs are less predictable, and they can become violent in certain circumstances. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, approximately 4.5 million dog bites occur each year. Injuries can range from minor scrapes to tragic loss of life, especially if the victim is a child. Dog bites carry major medical, financial, and legal consequences, so it is helpful to understand your options, should you or a loved one become injured by a dog bite. Here are four key steps to take after sustaining a dog bite injury:
1. Seek Immediate Medical Care
Even if your injuries are minor, such as small puncture wounds or scrapes, it is critical to be seen by a physician. Some dogs are not vaccinated against rabies, which can be transmitted from dogs to humans. Also, puncture wounds may lead to infection if not properly treated. Your safety should be your primary concern, so seek the help you need right away. If possible, you should take pictures of your wounds before treatment. Having photographic evidence of the injuries the dog caused will make your eventual personal injury claim much stronger.
2. Gather Information and Document the Scene
Treat the incident just like a car accident. Exchange contact information with the dog’s owner, as being able to reach them later to learn more about the dog’s vaccination history will be helpful. If there were witnesses, gather their contact information as well. Later, if you decide to pursue a personal injury claim, having eyewitness accounts to verify the incident will help strengthen your case. Similarly, if you received medical attention for your injuries, save any documents provided to you by your doctor, as these will bolster your personal injury claim.
3. Contact Animal Control
It is important to keep others safe from a dangerous dog in the community. Reach out to your local animal control center to file a report. This agency is committed to preventing future dog bites, so it is helpful for them to know of and investigate the circumstances of your dog bite incident.
4. Work With an Experienced Dog Bite Attorney
Your dog bite injury has probably resulted in costly medical bills and lost wages from work you were forced to miss due to your recovery. Filing a personal injury claim can help you recover the compensation you need in order to move forward with your life. While you focus on your physical recovery, your personal injury attorney will work hard to secure you the compensation you are owed.
Dedicated to Your Recovery
Hales & Associates, A Professional Law Corporation is committed to helping dog bite victims in Temecula and Murrieta receive the compensation they deserve. Call our friendly office today at (951) 489-3320 to schedule your free initial consultation with a dedicated and knowledgeable personal injury attorney.