Nearly 900 thousand people suffer from a dog bite injury every year. Almost 20% of the bites require medical attention. Around 30,000 dog bites are so severe that the victim has to undergo reconstructive surgery as a result. It is the responsibility of dog owners to ensure that their pet doesn't attack anyone. Whether you are invited into someone's home, cutting through his or her yard, or just on a walk, you should not have to worry about someone's dog hurting you. If you were attacked by a dog, here are some things you need to do immediately so you can create a solid personal injury case against the dog's owner.
1. Seek immediate medical attention
Don't avoid the hospital because the dog owner is a friend or you are afraid of making a big deal about the attack. If an animal breaks your skin, the wound has to be inspected by a medical professional. Not only can dogs spread diseases such as rabies, their mouths are full of bacteria that can lead to serious infections if not cleaned professionally. It's in your best interest for your own safety. The medical record will also allow you to build a solid personal injury case against the dog owner if you decide to do so.
2. Notify the authorities
When a dog bites, it's important to file a police report and contact animal control. If a dog bites you, there is a good chance it either has done it before, or will bite someone else in the future. You can save a life by notifying animal control about the dog. It will allow animal control to start an investigation that determines the risk that the dog poses. They may decide it was a fluke, or they may find that the dog is extremely dangerous.
The police report gives you another addition to your paper trail while seeking a personal injury claim. Your injury may end up causing permanent damage or a stack of medical bills that you should not have to pay. The police report will prove exactly when the attack happened, and that it was serious.
3. Photograph your injuries
When you file a personal injury claim, the process can take weeks or months. If you can't settle out of court and have to go in front of a judge, your injuries will likely be healed by your court date. You want to photograph all of your injuries so the judge can see what happened to you. It will allow the judge to understand that you sustained serious injuries and not just a tiny scratch.
4. Hire a lawyer
Personal injury lawyers from firms like Schiller, Kessler & Gomez, PLC know the claim process like the back of their hand. You don't want to navigate the legal system without a trained professional. When you hire a personal injury lawyer, you don't have to worry about retainer fees or bills. Personal injury lawyers are only paid if they win their case. This gives you the ease of knowing you don't have to pay a lawyer and end up losing your case. Your lawyer will work hard for you because he or she wants to be paid as well. Once the settlement amount or court ordered amount is decided, your lawyer will receive a percentage of payment that you agree on ahead of time.
5. Don't talk to the dog owner
Don't take any calls or agree to meet with the dog owner. The owner may try to guilt you into dropping your claim or try to get you to say something that will hurt your case. It's important to cut contact with the dog owner and keep your distance, at least until the lawsuit is over.
It can be difficult to file a personal injury claim, especially if you are close to the person you are filing against. Whether the dog owner is a stranger or a family member, it is their responsibility to make sure that their dog is friendly and doesn't have the opportunity to hurt anyone. You shouldn't have to become financially or emotionally unstable because a dog owner didn't do his or her job. You should hire a lawyer, seek medical attention, and file a personal injury lawsuit so you can receive the damages that you deserve.