Being attacked by a dog can change your life forever. You might miss work, develop a fear of dogs, have disfiguring injuries, or even become permanently disabled. Luckily, the law allows you to get compensation for some of the ways your life was altered after an attack.
Let’s talk about what type of injuries you might be facing, what steps you should take after being attacked by a dog, and what kind of compensation you could receive for your injuries.
What Type of Injuries Can Dog Attacks Cause?
A dog attack can cause any number of injuries, including:
- Puncture wounds
- Infections, potentially life-threatening
- Broken bones
- Scars, including keloid scars
- Nerve damage
- Limb paralysis or amputation
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
What to Do After a Dog Attack?
The order in which you do these steps may be determined by the severity of your injuries. For serious injuries, seek immediate medical attention and leave the other steps until later. If your injuries are not life-threatening, you may choose to talk to the dog’s owner or witnesses before you go to the doctor.
1. Get the Dog Owner’s Name and Contact Information
If the dog’s owner is present, or if you know where they live because it is a neighbor, get their name and contact information. You should also ask for the dog’s vaccination records, especially the rabies shot.
However, you should not discuss the details of the attack with the dog’s owner (for the same reason you do not admit fault when exchanging information with the other driver in a car accident).
2. Identify Witnesses and Gather Evidence
Get the names and contact information of anybody who witnessed the attack. Anybody who mentions the dog has attacked people before is also a crucial witness, even if they did not witness your attack.
Take pictures of the attack location and the dog, if you can. If any of your clothing was torn or bloodied, keep it as evidence of the attack. Take pictures of the initial wound.
3. Get Medical Attention
Seek medical attention, even if the wounds are minor. Dogs have a lot of bacteria in their mouths, and even shallow bites can easily become infected. Additionally, if you cannot easily get proof of the dog’s vaccination status, you may need preventative treatments against rabies or other diseases.
Follow the doctor’s instructions on how to clean and care for your wound while it heals. Get any follow-up care they recommend, including surgery or physical therapy. Ignoring the doctor’s instructions could lead to your injuries not healing properly.
4. Report the Dog Attack to Animal Control
In many cities and counties, anybody who is aware of an animal attack is required to report the incident to the local animal control department. Animal control will follow up to see if the dog has been vaccinated and whether there are any other reports of the dog biting somebody. They will also take note of your attack, which could be important if the same dog bites another person in the future.
5. Document the Wound and its Healing Process
Take pictures of the wound as soon as you can and every day or two until it is fully healed. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words, so pictures of the entire healing process can say a lot more than you talking about how painful it was.
6. Contact an Experienced Dog Bite Attorney
An experienced dog bite lawyer can help you get the maximum amount of compensation for your injuries. That may include:
- Money for doctor bills
- Time lost from work
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress.
An insurance company may try to tempt you with a lowball offer, but you’re usually better off hiring a lawyer who will fight for you to get more money for your attack.
Can I Get Compensation After a Dog Attack?
In most cases, you should be able to get compensation for your injuries after you were attacked by a dog. Some states have a “One free bite rule,” making it difficult to get compensation if the dog who bit you has never bitten anybody else before. However, there are no free bites in the state of California.
You may be able to get compensation if:
- The bite resulted in injuries that needed medical care, especially if you need ongoing treatment like surgery or skin grafts.
- You missed work due to your injuries.
- You have disfiguring injuries as a result of the attack.
- The injuries may cause you to be permanently disabled.
- You are struggling with your mental health as a result of the attack, including PTSD or failure to enjoy things you once loved.
If you have been attacked by a dog in the Central California Coast, contact James McKiernan Injury Lawyers in San Luis Obispo. We’ll offer you a free consultation to discuss your case and how much compensation you could get for your dog attack injuries. There’s no risk to you: We do not get paid unless you do.