While taking a walk in your neighborhood, a dog broke free from its leash and bit you on the lower leg. Even though the owner arrived just in time to prevent further injury, you are still left with a bad wound on your leg. While you are thankful that the dog was fully vaccinated, you are still left with an injury that will require a visit to the emergency room and stitches.
Even though your injury could have been far worse, you are now faced with a painful wound to your leg and a pile of expensive medical bills. Additionally, you are now afraid to go for a walk in your own neighborhood for fear of being bitten by a dog. If you are wondering if the dog's owner is responsible for your medical bills and other compensation, read on for the ten tips you need to know about handling dog-bite incidents.
1. Make sure that you get immediate medical attention, no matter how minor the bite. Dogs carry enough bacteria in their mouths to cause a severe infection, especially for those who have a compromised immune system.
2. Don't let the dog's owner leave without getting full contact information. If the owner tries to leave or is not cooperating, don't hesitate to call the police and file a report.
3. It's important to report the incident to your local animal control office. Some states have a so-called "one bite free" provision, so documentation of the incident could prevent someone else from being injured if the dog has a habit of biting people.
4. Try to snap a photo of the dog, even if you have to take it another day or while the dog is in it's yard.
5. If you had to miss any work due to the dog bite, the dog's owner could be liable for payment of your lost wages. Additionally they could be liable if you lost any personal property, such as a dropped and broken cell phone. The owner may also be liable for pain and suffering compensation.
6. If the dog's owner is a homeowner, their homeowners' insurance company may cover your damages.
7. Consult with an attorney before giving a recorded statement to any insurance company about the incident.
8. Be wary about quick settlement offers. Your attorney can help you to evaluate any offers and ensure that not only your present medical expenses are taken care of, but any future issues that may arise, such as unforeseen reconstructive surgery.
9. You won't need to worry about paying your personal injury attorney upfront, since most of them work on a contingency basis.
10. Your attorney will be a skilled negotiator and will be able to expertly evaluate the settlement offers in order to get you a fair settlement.
While a dog bite may at first appear to be a relatively minor issue, oftentimes it's far more painful, expensive, and inconvenient than most people can comprehend. Trust your personal injury attorney to get you the best possible compensation package for your injury.