Even dogs who seem friendly can bite, and dog bites can result in serious injuries. If you are bitten by a dog, there are a few things you need to know before you can seek compensation for your pain and suffering, medical costs or time lost from work. Here are just a few things to consider if you are the victim of a dog bite.
Just as you would in a car accident, you should get the information for the responsible party before leaving the scene of the incident. This information will be critical for filing a personal injury suit or filing a claim with the animal's homeowner's insurance policy. If you have a friend with you at the time of the bite or attack, ask him or her to write down a detailed statement you can provide to your attorney at a later date, and ask your friend to help you gather information from any other witnesses at the scene. You should consider contacting the local police department or animal control to file a report, which can also help you to build your case.
Know Your State's Laws
Some states have different rules regarding dog bites. Strict liability laws hold the dog owner accountable even if he or she had no reason to suspect the dog might be dangerous while other laws give the owner a bit of leniency for dogs that have not previously shown aggression. It is important to note, however, there are a few exceptions, even with strict liability laws. For example, a person who knowingly provokes a dog or who is trespassing on private property may have a more difficult time when trying to file a personal injury lawsuit. This is why it is important to discuss every detail of what happened with your personal injury attorney. He or she will be able to tell you whether or not you have a case based on the local laws and the circumstances leading up to the dog bite.
Determine If Insurance Covers The Injuries
Depending on where the bite occurred and what type of insurance the owner has, the dog's owner may have insurance that covers the bite. Homeowner's insurance may cover medical and related costs if the injury occurred on the homeowner's property, and in some cases, the coverage may extend to dogs being walked away from the homeowner's property. If the dog is a dangerous breed, the insurance specifically excludes coverage for the animal, which means you'll likely need to hire a personal injury attorney to handle your claim. You may also want to ask the dog's owner if he or she carries a separate pet insurance policy, which may also cover the costs related to dog bite injuries.
Of course, your primary concern should be to seek treatment for the bite. Once you have been properly cared for, you can decide whether or not to pursue a personal injury case after being bitten by a dog. Contact a local personal injury attorney, such as Randall A. Wolff & Associates, Ltd, for further assistance.