If you or a person close to you have been bitten by a dog, you know how traumatizing the experience can be. Although dogs are considered man’s best friend, they can pose a real danger when they become mean. This results in injuries to their owners or those around them.
In most cases, injuries resulting from dog bites heal fast without causing long-term health or psychological issues. However, some injuries are serious and pose a threat to the victim’s health. If you or your loved one gets bitten by a dog, you can seek legal redress by hiring a dog bite injury lawyer.
Working with a skilled legal representative enables you to hold those responsible accountable for their dog’s actions.
What To Do After A Dog Bite
Dogs have strong bites that can cause serious injuries to people. If dog teeth pierce the human skin, the victim faces a high risk of developing an infection. Deep bites can break bones, injure the veins, and tear the flesh.
What you do right after a dog bite has an impact on your recovery process. It also affects the outcome of your compensation claim significantly. If you or your loved one suffer injuries from dog bites, here are important things to do:
- Get Medical Attention
When you experience a dog bite injury, the first thing to do is to apply first aid. If the bite broke your skin, focus on stopping the bleeding by applying basic first aid procedures. If the bite isn’t too deep, you may wash the injury with soap and water before applying an antiseptic. However, even after applying first aid to stop the bleeding, get immediate medical attention, especially if the bite has punctured or torn your skin.
- Document The Dog Attack
If you’re attacked by a dog, you need to document the attack as soon as you can. It is possible to gather more evidence about the attack when you document it when your memory is still fresh. With strong evidence, your dog bite injury lawyer can build a solid case to support your compensation case.
To document the attack effectively, consider taking photos of the dog, the injury you suffered, witnesses, the owner of the dog, and the scene where the attack occurred. Moreover, take notes of the time, date, and location of the attack. Get details of the dog owner, including the name and address, and ask for contact details from witnesses.
If you have people who helped you get medical attention, identify them and take note of what they say about the injuries you sustained.
- File A Report About The Dog Attack
If you’ve been attacked by a dog, you should report it to the animal authorities at the earliest opportunity. Filing a report enables authorities to ensure the dog doesn’t pose danger to other people. Most importantly, reporting a dog attack ensures that you have the report your lawyer needs to file a compensation case.
- Hire A Dog Bite Injury Lawyer
Once you’ve seen a doctor, reported the dog attack, and gathered evidence, it’s time to get a dog bite injury lawyer. Consider getting a lawyer as soon as possible as that will help your case significantly. An injury attorney will help you in sorting the evidence you have and gleaning additional information from your doctor, witnesses, and the authorities.
Factors To Consider When Hiring a Dog Bite Lawyer
Hiring an injury lawyer when you or your loved one has suffered a dog bite can be a challenging task. The following are six things to consider when hiring a dog bite lawyer:
Consider the experience that a personal injury lawyer has in dealing with dog bite cases before hiring them to represent you. You can measure experience by asking the lawyer how long they’ve practiced and the type of cases they’ve handled. You may also ask about the reputation of the lawyer and check whether they’ve received any awards or recognition for handling legal matters.
When hiring an attorney to represent you in a dog bite injury case, you need to know how much they’ll charge for the service. Get clarity on the other costs you’ll be expected to take care of as well. To avoid confusion, have the attorney communicate the fees and costs in writing.
Communication is critical when working with an injury lawyer. Before you settle on a lawyer, check how he or she communicates. Choose a lawyer who’s willing to invest time learning about your case. A trusted lawyer will explain to you the legal provisions that have been violated following the dog attack.
Getting a lawyer who’s a good communicator is critical because his role is to argue your case before the jury and the judge, with the aim of getting a favorable outcome. Your attorney also needs to communicate case details, including the cost, progress, and how much it will take.
Check whether the lawyer you wish to hire is an expert in the dog bite injury law before hiring them. One way of determining expertise is checking at referrals. Does the lawyer receive referrals from other attorneys due to his expertise? Not all personal injury lawyers handle dog bite cases. Go for a lawyer that has an intricate understanding of the law in this area.
- Customer Relationship
It’s vital that you consider what your relationship with a dog bite injury lawyer will be like before you pick one. When searching for an injury attorney, ask prospects how they manage their relationship with clients.
Ideally, the lawyer should meet with you to work on the case, without delegating the task to an assistant or staff member. A good lawyer-client relationship should be guided by understanding and trust. This kind of relationship cannot be nurtured when you’re working with a lawyer’s staff or assistants, and the lawyer’s participation in a case isn’t personal and professional.
- Style Of Work
To win a dog bite case, you need a confident lawyer who works with you to build your case and achieve success. When you interact with a potential lawyer, his style of work can determine whether you’ll proceed to hire him or not.
Opt for an injury attorney that listens to your issues well, understands the impact of the injury on your life and family, and appreciates the concerns you raise. The lawyer you choose should also answer well any questions you might have. He should explain how the case will be pursued clearly.
Compensation For Dog Bite Injuries
To launch a successful case, the first thing you need to do is to understand how liability in dog attack cases works. In most states, the law places liability on the dog owner for their dog’s actions irrespective of the circumstances. However, liability is limited in situations where it is established that the victim provoked the dog. In such instances, compensation is reduced.
People who experience dog bite injuries can claim compensation for the suffering and expenses incurred. Compensation claims may include:
- Medical expenses, including those that relate to initial treatment, medications, and follow-up care
- Surgery expenses, in case the victim requires reconstructive surgery. Compensation for surgical procedures may also cover implants and other materials that doctors use to treat the injury.
- Scar treatment costs that relate to removal of the healed scar through different means, including plastic surgery
- Pain and suffering resulting from the mental or emotional trauma that a victim suffers from being attacked by a dog. Compensation may include costs relating to counseling and treatment for mental conditions, such as post-traumatic stress disorder.
- Loss of income, which happens when victims of dog bite injury sue for wage compensation because they are forced to take time away from work to recover. Victims who become incapacitated by a dog bite injury, to an extent that they can no longer conduct economic activities the way they used to, may seek compensation, too.
Although dogs are mostly friendly to people, they can still attack and injure them with their strong bites. What you do after a dog bite can impact your recovery process and affect the outcome of your compensation claim significantly.
Most people pursue insurance claims after experiencing a dog bite. While this is a good step, it’s not the only thing that victims of dog bites can do. The law allows them to pursue compensation for injuries suffered from such attacks through the legal process.
If you or your loved ones are victims of dog bites, getting a dog bite injury lawyer to file the case and represent you in court increases your chances of winning. However, not all personal injury lawyers know how to handle a dog bite case.
When hiring a dog bite injury lawyer, look out for the six things discussed above. Paying attention to these aspects ensures that the lawyer you get has the relevant expertise and experience in handling such cases.