This happens more frequently than you’d expect. Fido looks sweet and innocent, but as it turns out, he’s a vicious beast. Your neighbor may have trained their dog to be a little too vigilant in its duty to protect his home. Fido hops the fence and attacks an otherwise innocent bystander.
Dog owners have a legal duty to control their pets, keep them on their property, and socialize them well enough so that they don’t attack people at random. In fact, dog owners are strictly liable for injuries their pets cause and are responsible for the cost of your medical expenses and pain and suffering.
This is a step-by-step guide to what you should do after being bitten by another person’s dog.
#1. Seek Medical Attention
Puncture wounds from dog bites are highly susceptible to becoming infected. You should go to the hospital immediately and have the wound examined. You may need stitches, and at the very least, the hospital should dress the wound for you. They may put you on antibiotics and you may receive medication for the pain as well.
#2. Report the Incident to Animal Services
At your discretion, you should report the incident to Animal Services. Animal Services will conduct an investigation to ensure that the dog isn’t a serious threat to others. In some cases, the animal may be quarantined and removed from the owner’s house. It’s a strong action against the owner and dog, but in some cases, it will be in the best interests of the everyone to have the dog quarantined. They can also tell you if the dog has a history of attacks on other people and, if so, the owner may be subject to punitive damages.
#3. Take Pictures
You should take pictures of the scene and your wounds. The more information that you can collect at the time of the incident, the better off you will be. Take note of where you and the dog were when it but you.
#4. Take Down the Owner’s Information
Some owners, of course, will want to make this as difficult on you as humanly possible. Others will be forthcoming with their name and address. The process is easier when it’s a neighbor’s dog who has done the biting. Try to get as much information form the owner as you can, including the owner’s homeowners or renters insurance information, if possible
#5. Find a Personal Injury Attorney Familiar with Dog Bite Cases
You’ll want to find a personal injury attorney who has handled dog bite cases before and make a claim with the owner’s insurance company and, if necesarry, to initiate a lawsuit against the owner. You are entitled to compensation for your medical expenses, pain and suffering, emotional distress, lost time from work, and any other consequence of the dog bite that has impacted you negatively.
You should contact a lawyer as soon after the incident as possible to make sure a prompt investigation is conducted while evidence is still fresh.
While making a claim, or during a lawsuit, it is best not to discuss the details of the case with the owner or others who may convey information to the owner. You also want to be careful about what you say on social media.
An effective personal injury attorney can help you through the process.
The Marin County personal injury attorneys at The Wakeford Law Firm have handled dog bite cases before, securing excellent settlements and verdicts for our clients. If you have been attacked by a dog, give us a call at (415) 578-3510 or contact us online and we can begin preparing your case immediately.