One of the most common causes of legal claims against dog owners is a dog bite. This can lead to an expensive lawsuit that involves court costs and lawyer fees. A bite may pose a serious threat to your health and well-being due to potential diseases spread by pets. If you have been attacked by a neighbor’s dog, read on for quick tips about how to deal with the situation.
Identify the dog’s owner and contact animal control
If you have been bitten by a dog, the first thing you should do is to identify the dog’s owner.
The easiest way to identify the dog’s owner is to ask someone who lives in the same building. Another way that you can find out who owns a dog is by looking for tags on their collar, or even by calling the city offices and asking for information about the dog.
If you don’t know anyone, then you should contact your local animal control agency. This agency will be able to help you identify who owns the dog, and also tell you whether or not they were licensed.
Gather evidence of the attack
If you are able to, take photographs of yourself, the dog bite, and anything else that may help identify the owner. The more evidence you can provide, such as photos of the dog’s face and description of its collar, the better.
In addition to taking pictures of the dog bite and any other injuries sustained, get the name and address of the dog’s owner. Don’t rely on neighbors for this information; ask a police officer or call animal control yourself. If possible, gather information about any dogs that live at the residence as well.
You should also contact your health insurance provider. Dog bites are covered under most health insurance plans (note that coverage does not extend to other animals). If it’s an emergency situation, don’t waste time gathering information – just head to the nearest hospital or clinic right away.
Finally, if your situation is extreme or if medical attention is required, contact an attorney immediately to discuss pursuing damages in court.
Get treatment for your injuries
The most important thing to do is seek medical attention immediately after a dog bite. Even if you don’t think the injury is serious, seek attention from your doctor or at least go to a hospital emergency room. The sooner you get treatment and begin receiving rabies shots, the better chance you have of avoiding infection or illness from the dog’s saliva.
A neighbor’s dog bite can leave you with a number of injuries, from puncture wounds to lacerations. Puncture wounds are often the most serious because they can become infected. Wash the wound with soap and water and apply an antibiotic ointment if available. Cover the wound with gauze or a clean cloth and keep it clean and dry according to instructions from your doctor or nurse.
Get copies of all the bills and give them to your insurance company. If you don’t have health insurance, consult with a personal injury attorney who can help you evaluate your options for getting compensation for your injuries.
Takeaway: When you go to the hospital for treatment, be sure to report the incident to animal control and your insurance company. The doctor who treats you will also document your injuries, which will serve as evidence in case you choose to bring a lawsuit against the dog owner or if animal control decides to fine or prosecute them.
Contact an experienced dog bite attorney
If you have been bitten by a dog and wish to file a dog bite lawsuit, the first thing that you need to do is speak with an experienced dog bite attorney. Almost every state has different rules and regulations when it comes to filing a dog bite lawsuit.
Trying to handle a dog bite claim on your own can be a huge mistake. It’s easy to botch the paperwork, which will doom your claim before it’s even filed.
A good lawyer will also know how to avoid pitfalls like statutes of limitations and other legal issues that could make your case uncollectible. Contact an experienced dog bite attorney as soon as possible.
An experienced attorney will investigate all aspects of the case including:
- The history of dog bites at that location;
- The history of bites from that particular dog;
- Whether or not there were previous complaints about aggressive behavior prior to the incident;
- The breed, age, and health conditions of the dog involved.