What Do You Do When a Dog Bites You: The Bark is Not Bigger Than the Bite

A dog is man’s best friend, or so they say. However, that doesn’t mean that all dogs are lovable and sweet. Dogs can and do bite, and the bites can be quite severe. They can result in horrific injuries, and in some cases, even death. Dog bites can happen for a number of reasons, but we want to make sure that you are equipped to properly handle the aftermath in all cases. Leaving you with one question, what do you do when a dog bites you?

After the Bite

First, take care of the wound(s), whether they are superficial or serious. It’s always a good idea to visit a doctor, even for relatively small wounds, for a couple of reasons. Primarily, it will ensure your health. Even a bite that looks minor has the chance to become infected. In other cases, there could be damage to the muscle or nerves that might not show up right away. You may think that the initial bite is simply causing the pain and difficulty moving. However, it could be more serious, and you could have problems even after the wound heals. Going to a doctor will let you know the extent of the injuries, and it will be important when you are trying to prove your case against the dog’s owner. Be sure to take pictures of your injuries, document any witness names, telephone numbers and any other helpful evidence you have at your disposal. You should also contact animal control and the police department in your area as soon as possible so they can begin an investigation.

The Law

Did you know that the owner of any dog that bites any person while that person is in a public place, or lawfully in a private place, including the property of the dog’s owner, is liable for damages suffered by the person bitten, regardless of the former viciousness of the dog?

Unless we’re dealing with a child under 6 years of age, or unless the dog owner is not otherwise negligent by act or omission at the time of the injury, the owner is not liable if they displayed a clearly visible and easy to read “bad dog” sign on his or her property. So if you own a dog, consider placing a clear and visible “bad dog” sign on our property.

Talking With an Injury Attorney

Once you tend to the injuries, one of the next things you need to do is to speak with an injury attorney. Even if you know the dog owner, it is very important that you speak with a personal injury attorney about what to do so that you get the justice that you deserve, as well as compensation for your injuries. It also ensures that the dog owner is held responsible for the actions of his or her dog. If the dog is a danger, let’s ensure that no one else becomes a victim of the animal.

Hiring a Private Investigator

In some cases, it might be a good idea to hire a private investigator (PI), to help with the case. Often, you will find that investigators work with attorneys for just this purpose. When you have a PI on the case, they will be able to handle much of the “footwork” needed when it comes to the evidence you need.

A PI will interview any witnesses to the incident so that they can get a full picture of what happened. They will also speak with neighbors in the area to try to get a better idea of exactly what type of temperament the animal has. This could help to show that the dog already displayed dangerous and aggressive qualities, or that the owner was negligent when it came to controlling the animal.

The investigators will likely speak with some of the local animal control officers as well. This can let them know if there have been any issues or complaints about the owner and their animals. For example, they may have already been cited for having a “dog at large”, which simply means a dog that’s gotten out of the property.

Investigators will likely take pictures of the animal as well. In many cases, the animal will have to spend time at the local animal shelter. The dogs go to the shelter after biting so they can be kept in isolation and examined by a vet to help determine the health of the dog. The pictures taken can serve as evidence as to the size of the dog, and the potential strength that it could have. They will also take photos of the area where the bite occurred.

An attorney and investigator can be instrumental to your case. Make sure you hire someone as soon as you can after the attack so they can start gathering the evidence you need. If you are in need of a personal injury attorney, contact us today.

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