Being bitten by a dog is undoubtedly a frightening experience. You’re taken by surprise and don’t know if the dog is going to keep biting or settle down. Dogs have been domesticated for over ten thousand years and are considered to be man’s best friend, but the reality is that they are still animals that are fully capable of attacking others, especially if they are already prone to vicious behavior. At Novo Law Firm PC, we’ve covered numerous dog bite cases and understand the concerns that arise when you or someone you love suffers from a dog bite. Usually the most pressing worry is the extent of the injuries you have sustained. Unfortunately, more severe cases can change the way you live your life and impact your ability to continue working. While we can’t undo the attack you suffered, our attorneys at Novo Law Firm PC will make sure you receive the full compensation you need to start getting your life back to normal.
What follows here is an overview of what to do if you should be bitten by a dog. Hopefully you will never have to refer back to this, but it is important to know what steps to take if you or a loved one is ever the victim of a dog bite.
Seek medical help
If you have been bitten by a dog, the first thing to do is seek medical treatment for your injuries. Even a minor bite wound can lead to serious medical complications if left untreated. Dogs can carry bacteria and diseases that can be extremely harmful to the human system, such as rabies. Moreover, because of the shape of canine teeth, a deep bite can reach and damage nerves and blood vessels. As such, getting medical attention should be your foremost concern. As a side note, an attack by a dog can be a very frightening experience and leave you feeling nervous and shaky—if possible, have someone take you to a medical center instead of trying to drive there yourself.
You’ll want to gather as much information as possible about the dog and their owner, if any. Your most immediate concern is to find out whether the dog has current or up to date rabies and distemper shots. If you’re unable to find this out because the dog is a stray or because the owner can’t provide vaccination records, be sure and inform the medical staff who attends you. Next, it is important to collect the owner’s contact information. Having their name, address, and phone number will facilitate communication between them, you, and your personal injury attorney. If it’s possible, take down the contact information of any witnesses that were present when you were attacked.
Talk to witnesses
The following information may be a little more difficult to obtain, but in order to file a personal injury claim against the dog’s owner, you’ll have to have evidence that the dog that bit you was given to vicious propensities. For the most part, dog owners will not readily admit that their dog is dangerous. However, you can still find out about the dog’s history and temperament by talking to neighbors or mail carriers. They can prove to be an invaluable resource as they may have regularly witnessed vicious behavior in the dog or know of previous incidents where the dog bit someone.
Depending on the state you live in, it may be essential to your case to get as much information as you can about the dog that inured you as each state has different laws regarding dog attacks. New York, for example, uses what is known as a “mixed law” when it comes to dog bites. Basically, this means that New York abides by the “one-bite” rule while also limiting the owner’s liability to medical costs. As such, if you’re seeking recovery for other damages such as future medical care, income loss, or pain and suffering, you’ll be required to prove that the dog indeed had vicious tendencies the owner was aware of. For example, if the dog had previously bit someone, that would provide substantial proof that the owner had knowledge of their dog’s dangerous temperament. In the absence of a prior biting incident, you should still be sure to gather as much information as you can.
If you have suffered injuries from a dog bite and they have affected your ability to work and your quality of life, contact Novo Law Firm PC to meet with one our experienced personal injury attorneys. We’ve seen many dog bite cases and know what needs to be done in order to ensure that we bring your case to a successful conclusion so that you can get your life back on track.