No one expects to be bitten by a dog when they are out and about but it happens all of the time. Every year, at least 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs around the United States. When this happens, about 20% of dog bite victims need to seek medical help. That translates to more than 800,000 people going to emergency rooms and doctors’ offices to be treated for problems they are experiencing due to the encounter with a dog. The most common victims of these attacks are children. Unfortunately, these bites are also some of the most serious. This often happens when children are playing with dogs they know. If you or your child has been bitten by a dog and required medical attention there are some things you can so, such as hire an accident lawyer to help. Here are some other steps you should take:
- Get the contact information for the owner of the dog. If the dog is owned by someone you do not know, you should exchange your contact information in the same way you would if you were in a car accident. You will need this whether the injury sustained is serious or not. The dog in question may not have had the shots that dogs need to get and what looks like small bite can lead to serious medical issues. If you end up talking to an accident lawyer, you will need to be able to reach the person responsible for the dog.
- Get medical treatment for the bite. Even if it does not look too serious, you should go to a doctor for the bite. There are times when people get blood infections after being bitten by an animal and these take some time to show up. It is also important to your case if you end up talking to a personal injury lawyer about the situation. Having the documentation of the medical treatment you received will be helpful for your accident lawyer.
- Take pictures of the bite. No matter how big or small the bite you received is, you should take a picture of it. Take several to show how it looked right after the dog bit you or your child. As the wound heals, you may want to take more pictures. One common sign that an infection has started to set in is red streaks that will radiate away from the wound. You will want to document these to give to your accident lawyer.
- Get whatever documentation you can. Anytime you go to a medical professional for treatment for a dog bite, you should make sure you get paperwork from that visit. You should tell the medical professionals you are seeing about any legal action that is going to result from the bite so they can provide you with their notes about the situation. You will have to sign a release to let them share your or your child’s medical information with your accident lawyer.
- Talk to a few personal injury law firms. Personal injury lawyers will see new or prospective clients for free to do a consultation. This is a good way for them to get to know you and your case and for you to interview them. It is a common thought that accident lawyers want to file as many lawsuits as they can. Most of the time, personal injury lawyers only get paid if they win so they are not going to take on a case they know has no chance.
There are laws that make a dog owner responsible when they know their dog may be dangerous and they do not take the appropriate steps to make sure the dog does not bite anyone. That responsibility can also apply to someone who has been tasked with taking care of the dog. There are states that have their own laws in this area that are more strict. They put the financial responsibility on the dog owner regardless of the dog’s history or the violent nature of the breed. This is why you need to talk to an accident attorney after a dog has bitten you or your child.