While dogs are usually friendly and calm, being attacked or bitten by a dog is not uncommon. Dog bites can lead to serious injuries and the cases are widespread in different places. If you are a victim of a dog bite, there are different things that you should do if you want to get a settlement from the pet owner. Dog bite laws vary, which means that you must consult a lawyer with experience in dealing with similar cases.
1. Get Medication
If you or your loved one is bitten by a dog, you should immediately seek medical treatment. However, you must first apply first aid steps before you go to the hospital or doctor. You should never ignore dog bites since you risk contracting rabies or other bacterial infections. A medical health provider will examine the bite wound, clean it, and apply antibiotic ointment.
The doctor may recommend stitches depending on the severity of the wounds. Additionally, the physician may also want to know about the dog that has bitten you to include the information in your medical report. You should make sure that you keep all the medical bills and other clinic paperwork when you seek medical care. These documents provide critical evidence if you decide to pursue a claim.
2. Report to the Police
You must report to the police or contact animal control when you are attacked by a dog. The dog could be a stray animal that should be tracked down since it may pose a danger to other people. Dog bites can be life-threatening and often leave you with deep scars. Therefore, reporting to the police will help obtain a police report that you can use to support your case if you want to make a compensation claim against the owner of the dog.
3. Contact a Dog Bite Lawyer
When you get medical care and report the dog bite incident to the police, you should consider contacting an attorney specializing in dog bites for legal advice. In many states, they recognize the one-bite rule that implies that the pet owner gets a one-time free pass. In other words, the dog owner may not be liable to pay compensation. For example, in Houston, this is the case; and it would be s wise to consult a dog bite lawyer in Houston, Texas to get legal advice about how you can proceed with your case to receive the compensation you deserve. Dog bite lawyers can help conduct investigations to establish if the dog was roaming around.
Another benefit of consulting a dog bite attorney is that they can also investigate if the dog has been involved in any other cases. More importantly, the lawyers understand the law better, and they can help you get compensation even if it is the dog’s first time to bite someone. The victim may suffer severe injuries as a result of dog bites. Under such circumstances, the owner may not easily get away with the case claiming that they did not know that their dog was aggressive.
4. Evaluation of Your Claim
Before you file a compensation claim, you need to provide all documents about your dog bite to the lawyer. The two of you will go through the evidence that you provide to determine the merits of your case. Not all cases of dog bites are granted benefits since the defendant can also argue that you were bitten while trespassing. Therefore, you must have an honest evaluation to get the compensation you deserve. Dog bite victims can get compensation for non-economic and economic damages.
5. Prove Negligence
If you want to get compensation for a dog bite, you should prove that the owner was negligent in their behavior. For instance, if the owner allowed the dog to roam unleashed, this would be considered negligent. Each dog has a propensity to be aggressive especially when it meets new people. Negligence in this case refers to the dog owner’s failure to provide care to other people. Other pet owners may fail to take necessary precautions such as failing to mend their broken fences or secure their dogs.
You must take photographs of your injuries that you can use as evidence if you decide to pursue a compensation claim. You must also provide documentation of your treatment such as medical bills and a police report.
7. Statute Of Limitations
You should know what the statute of limitations is in your state. As with our previous example, in Texas, it is two years for filing a compensation claim for injuries caused by dog bites. If the statute of limitations expires, you might lose your legal right to get compensation.
When you are bitten by a dog, there are different things that you should do. You must first apply first aid then seek medical treatment from a hospital. If the incident was caused by the dog’s owner’s negligence, you may be entitled to get compensation for your injuries. However, you must consult a lawyer to handle your case if you want to receive a fair settlement.