Most dogs are loving, attention-seeking creatures and are often excellent companions to people from all walks of life. But not every canine is consistently friendly. Sometimes, dogs will attack unprovoked, and the resulting injuries can complicate an individual’s personal and professional life.
The American Humane Association reported that approximately 4.7 million people sustain dog bite injuries on a yearly basis, some requiring emergency care. Dog bites aren’t entirely uncommon, but if you find yourself a victim of a dog attack, no matter how serious, you might be eligible for legal compensation.
When you’re attacked by a dog, it can be difficult to think straight and react appropriately. Still, there are a number of steps you should take to keep you safe and healthy and build your legal case. Follow the seven steps below for the best results after a traumatic dog attack.
Get to Safety
As quickly as possible, get yourself away from danger and away from the hostile dog. Move to a safe location to protect yourself from further harm.
Apply First Aid
No matter how serious your injury is, your wound should be properly cared for. If you’re bleeding, rinse your injury with clean water and cover it with gauze or some other clean dressing. Keep the wound elevated to minimize the bleeding until you can seek proper medical attention.
Learn More About the Dog
If you don’t require immediate medical attention, take the time to look at the dog and commit it to memory. You may even want to take a photo of the dog if there isn’t any danger in doing so. Track down the owner and find where the dog normally resides.
Talk to the Owner
Try to get as much information as you can from the dog’s owner. Take down the owner’s phone number, address, and name, and request the dog’s license details. If possible, ask the owner if the dog has been involved in similar incidents or if the dog can be particularly hostile at times.
Speak to Witnesses
Your attack could have easily been seen by neighbors or other passersby. Get their contact information and talk to them about what they saw. They can later provide eye witness accounts of the incident.
Get Medical Treatment
Always seek professional care for your wound, even if it’s a minor injury. Unattended dog bites can easily become infected or otherwise problematic, especially if some of the dog’s saliva got under the skin and in your bloodstream. In some cases, you may have to undergo rabies treatment. Should your injuries be fairly serious, don’t hesitate to call an ambulance for proper medical help as soon as possible.
Getting medical treatment will not only ensure you’re properly cared for and healthy but the resulting medical records can also strengthen your personal injury case.
Take Pictures of Everything
If you can, take pictures of the scene shortly after the incident and photograph your injuries as soon as you are able. Documenting everything you can will further support your case and illustrate just how serious the attack and your injuries were.
Report the Incident
Once you’re safe and properly treated, file an incident report with the local police or animal control department. An official report backs up legal claims and bolsters a personal injury suit.
Seek Legal Counsel
For any dog injury, turn to an attorney that has experience in dog bite or animal attack cases. He or she can help you collect the documentation and proof you need to file for a personal injury claim. Your attorney can also offer helpful legal advice and walk you through related processes.
When you’re injured by a dog, follow the steps above. First and foremost, take care of yourself. Get the medical treatment you need, and then call an experienced attorney to get you proper compensation for your injury and other damages.