When we think of the type of accidents that happen outside the home, we usually think of vehicle collisions. However, according to recent statistics, there are around 4 million cases of dog bites each year in the USA – and these are only the ones that are reported. While most of us know the steps to take if we’re involved in a vehicle accident, we may not be so clear about what to do in the aftermath of a dog attack. Here are 5 important steps to take.
1. Identify the owner of the dog that attacked you
If the owner is in the vicinity, obtain their personal information so that you or a specialist personal injury lawyer, such as Tucson’s Lamber Goodnow, can contact them later. Additionally, ask them to provide proof that their animal has up-to-date rabies vaccinations. If not, you may need a precautionary course of rabies injections, which can cost thousands of dollars. Many homeowners invest in dog liability insurance in case their dog bites someone.
If there are witnesses to the attack, ensure you obtain their details as well.
If there’s no sign of the owner, or if you’ve been attacked by a street dog while traveling, waste no time in seeking medical attention.
2. Get medical attention
Don’t delay in taking this step, or take an ‘I’ll be OK’ approach- if your skin has been broken you should treat it as an emergency. It is important to address the issue as quickly as possible to prevent the wound from becoming infected and causing more serious long-term issues. In addition, an attack by one or more dogs can be deeply shocking so you may need additional checks and reassurance.
Ensure you keep all payment receipts, as these may be needed in the event of a later claim against the owner, or to your insurance company if you have specific personal injury insurance.
3. Document the injuries
Before the wound is dressed, ensure you document the injuries with photos and/or video. In addition, bruising can take some time to emerge, so you may also want to take photos after several hours, and over the following days. This will help to demonstrate the true extent of the damage, and the time it required for the wound to heal.
4. Report the incident
Once your medical needs have been addressed, it’s time to report the incident – to the local police or an animal control unit. This is vital as, of the dog is uncontrolled and the attack was unprovoked, other people or pets could be in danger.
Ensure you are given a record of your report.
5. Speak to a Personal Injury specialist
If you were able to identify the owner of the dog which attacked you, contact a personal injury lawyer to discuss what damage claims could be made against them. This may include medical costs, and time lost from work or business, as well as the lasting mental and emotional distress that a dog attack can cause.
Following each of these steps will help you to take control over what can often be a traumatic situation, ensuring that the incident will not have lingering negative impacts on you or others.
You may also like: How to Deal With a Motor Vehicle Collision Case?
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