Being bitten by an animal, including dogs, cats and more exotic pets, can be a painful and potentially life-altering event. Children are especially vulnerable as they can trust a strange dog and, ultimately, sustain serious injuries or disfigurement.
In the United States, nearly 1,000 people receive emergency treatment for dog bites and animal attacks every day!
If you or a family member is bitten by an animal, there are a number of very important elements and actions to consider:
- You will want to do your best to identify the owner of the animal. This is not only critical for filing a claim against the animal’s owner, but also to determine if you have been bitten by a stray or unregistered animal. This could cause you to undergo rabies protocol treatments which can be expensive and painful.
- If you can identify the owner, you will most probably be entitled to receive compensation from the owner or the owner’s insurance company for medical bills, reimbursement for lost income, possible cosmetic surgery in the future, future medical care, and pain and suffering.
- You will want to make a report to the local agency or animal control in your jurisdiction. This may be a department of your city or county. Or the police department or other agency. We can file the report for you as well.
- Be sure to document the incident as best you can, including pictures of the victim’s injuries or wounds.
- BE SURE TO GO THE HOSPITAL IMMEDIATELY no matter how minor the injuries may appear. Dog and animal bites can cause serious infections that can have long-term consequences. If you sustain an injury to your face, insist on having a plastic surgeon brought in to consult. Emergency room personnel are talented and dedicated to trauma and open-wound cases, but are not skilled in stitching as a plastic surgeon will be.
- If you do determine the owner of the dog (or animal), make every attempt to obtain the name of the owner’s homeowners insurance company. The owner may contact the insurance company directly, in which case the insurance company will then contact you with specific questions about the incident.
If you are contact either by the owner or the owner’s insurance company regarding the incident, DO NOT do any of the following:
- Do not agree to meet with the insurance company or set any appointments without consulting your attorney first
- Do not discuss financial matters such as payments, compensation amounts, injury value, lost wages, medical expenses or anything else related to money.
- Do not allow any recordings of your statements or claims without your attorney present
- Do not accept any cash payments or other monies from the owner of the animal directly. Only work through your legal representative.