What to Do If a Dog Bites You
Being attacked or bitten by a dog is a very scary scenario. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “In the United States of America, approximately 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs every year. Of these, nearly 885,000 seek medical care; 30,000 have reconstructive procedures; 3–18% develop infections and between 10 and 20 fatalities occur. Children make up the largest percentage of people bitten by dogs, with the highest incidence in mid-to-late childhood. The risk of injury to the head and neck is greater in children than in adults, adding to increased severity, necessity for medical treatment and death rates.”
What should you do if you or a loved one has been bitten by a dog?
Contact the Police
Just as with an auto accident, the police should be contacted to complete a report on the attack. This will ensure that the history of the dog attacking a person can be preserved and compared to previous record of the dog’s behavior. The police can assist in documenting witness identities, the dog, and the owner’s identities as well as the circumstances of the bite or attack. The police will likely notify animal control as well. While you wait for the police, take the following steps to help ensure all information is documented.
1) Identify any Witnesses
It’s important to get the contact information for everyone who witnessed the dog attack. Witnesses can provide valuable information to the circumstances of the dog attack, especially if your version differs from that of the owner. For instance, was the dog on a leash?
2) Identify the Owner
Be sure to write down the contact information for the owner. You may also want to photograph the owner and the dog for future reference. If the owner is not available, for instance if someone else was watching the dog, obtain their contact information in addition to that of the owner. In some instances, it may be necessary for someone to follow the dog (or even the owner) to a yard or house to identify the likely owner or caretaker.
3) Seek Medical Treatment
Visit a healthcare professional as soon as possible. You may seek treatment from your regular physician, if they can accommodate you right away, or you may go to an emergency room or urgent care. Whether you have health insurance or not, if seeking attention from an urgent care location is appropriate, it will cost you far less than a visit to the emergency room. Be sure to inform them on how you sustained the injuries, so they can properly document.
4) Document the Attack
Write down your version of the events as soon as you are able. For instance, was the dog on a leash? Was the attack on public property? Was the attack unprovoked? Take photos of the location where the attack occurred and take photos of the injuries sustained. Document any medical expenses associated with treating your injuries including medical bills, over-the-counter treatment supplies, insurance co-pays, prescriptions, etc.
5) Contact a Lawyer
Recovering for your costs and injuries from a dog bite or attack can be complicated. It may be necessary to make a claim against the animal owner’s homeowner’s or renter’s insurance. Finding out who this is, may be difficult. Having an experienced lawyer to assist you with a dog bite case is an important step in obtaining the compensation you deserve, especially if there are long-term or permanent medical issues or disfigurement that have resulted from the attack. And if the attack resulted in death, you may be entitled to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
VanDerGinst Law is an experienced law firm that focuses on all types personal injuries including animal attacks and dog bit injuries. We have knowledgeable and experienced attorneys who can help guide you through the complexities of your case and help you obtain the financial compensation you deserve. The consultation is always free and there are no attorney fees unless we win your case. We’d be honored to help.
If you suffered an injury in Iowa or Illinois, contact VanDerGinst Law P.C. at 800-960-8529 or request a free consultation.
The information contained on this website is presented by VanDerGinst Law P.C. It is not intended nor should it be construed as professional legal advice. The information is general in nature about the Firm, the scope of services we offer, and our community outreach, it is not legal advice. Please contact us by phone, email, mail, or via this website for inquiries. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please contact a personal injury attorney for a consultation regarding your situation. This website is not intended to solicit clients outside the State of Iowa and/or State of Illinois.