If you or somebody you love has been attacked by a dog, following procedure is essential to making a case to recoup the costs of medical care. While it is unusual for animals to actually attack somebody without provocation, it often happens out of fear or an attempt to protect somebody else. If you think the owner of the is legally liable for the dog bite, ensure that you follow these steps.
1. First, call 911 if necessary. Medical attention should be provided as quickly as possible to minimize injury. Place a clean towel over the wound and try to keep it elevated if you see bleeding. Wash with soap and water to prevent infection. Even if you don't think the injury is serious, you should see a doctor as soon as possible. Make sure to keep any medical records related to the incident as well. This creates a paper trail you can use in court to support the fact that you should be compensated for your injury.
2. Before leaving the scene of the crime, make sure to get the name and phone number of the dog's owner. Compile the information of any witnesses on the scene as well, even if you aren't sure that you are going to sue. You never know when medical bills are going to pile up.
3. Report the dog bite to authorities right away. You need to let the police department know that there is a case involving the dog, especially in case it attacks anybody else. Plus, this establishes a report of the incident for when you go to court.
4. Next, check with local Animal Control to see if the dog has attacked anybody else. They usually keep records of dog attacks, and you may be able to determine whether or not the dog has been labelled dangerous in the past. If so, the owners may be liable for allowing a dangerous or vicious dog to interact with the public. It is wise to check with a lawyer at this time to determine if your state has a "one-bite rule" for dogs.
Ultimately, it is the dog owner's responsibility to ensure that individuals are not hurt on their own or public property. Private property belonging to the dog owner is more questionable, and this is where a talented lawyer can provide advice. Hire a personal injury attorney, like those at Lerner, Piermont & Riverol, P.A., to protect your rights in court, allowing you to benefit from paid medical bills and financial assistance for pain and suffering.