What to Do After a Dog Bite
Dogs may be man’s best friend, but they are also animals with the potential to cause serious injuries when they bite or attack. Fortunately for victims, dog bites and attacks can be considered personal injuries, and our civil justice system provides the pathways through which owners can be held liable for damages caused by their pets, including the medical expenses, pain and suffering, and lost wages suffered by victims.
At Caraway Injury Attorneys, our personal injury lawyers represent victims throughout the Greater Sacramento Area following preventable injuries. In cases involving dog bites and attacks, we leverage our understanding of dog bite laws and insight handling personal injury cases to help clients pursue the most viable path for compensation, and the full financial recovery they deserve.
If you or someone you love are injured after an encounter with a dog, the steps you take can make all the difference in your legal journey and ability to make a positive recovery in your personal injury case. Here are a few important tips:
- Seek timely medical treatment – Your health should always be your top priority, especially following bites and attacks from dogs and any other type of animal. Seeing immediate medical attention is critical for these injuries, as some dogs may not be vaccinated for rabies and puncture wounds can be prone to infection. By seeking immediate medical attention, a medical professional can identify and treat any serious issues or complications, and begin treatment. Timely medical treatment is also important to any personal injury case you choose to pursue, as insurance companies will be quick to highlight a victim’s delay in treatment or lack of treatment as evidence they were not really injured, even if a victim had been in pain all along.
- Collect information – Gathering as much information as you can is important after a dog attack. Just like being involved in a car accident, you will want to exchange information (i.e. name, address, and contact information) with the dog owner or whoever was responsible for them at the time of the attack. Not only can this aid you as you begin your personal injury case, it can also allow you to follow up with the owner and verify the dog’s vaccination history. If there were any witnesses to the attack, you should get their information as well.
- Document everything – Documenting all events surrounding the attack is important. While they are still fresh in your mind, record what happened, where, and when. You can also take photos of the scene and any visible injuries you suffered. It is also important to save all documentation connected to the incident for use in your future case, including medical records, written records, lost time from work, and any correspondence you have with the owner or insurance company. It is important to note, however, that the owner’s insurance company is not on your side, and that you should be wary of saying things that can be used against you or accepting lowball settlements that do not meet your needs.
- File a report with animal control – Reporting your attack to your local animal control agency can help prevent other innocent victims from suffering bites and attacks in the future. Their investigation and reports may also prove beneficial in your case.
- Know the law – Understanding your rights and the laws in place can aid you as you navigate the legal process. Per California’s dog bite law, which creates strict liability for owners regardless of whether they knew their dog would act aggressively or not, you are entitled to a recovery of your damages if they were caused by a dog bite and you were bit in a public place or while lawfully on private property. You should also be aware that California law requires dog bite victims to bring civil legal action within two years of their injury. If you wait and the statute of limitations runs out, you will not be able to recover compensation for your damages.
- Call a lawyer – Because you don’t know what you don’t know, speaking with an experienced lawyer can be the most important thing you do. At Caraway Injury Attorneys, our legal team is readily available to help clients take the right steps from the very moment they reach out for help. Our attorneys can assist you with insurance company correspondence, legal work, and the documentation required of your case. As advocates, we can also fight for the full and fair compensation you need, especially if owners and any insurance company defending them (such as the provider of their homeowner’s insurance) dispute liability and fair payouts.
Have questions about pursuing a dog bite case with the help of experienced lawyers from Caraway Injury Attorneys? Call (916) 655-5555 for a FREE consultation.