What Should I Do If I Got Bit By a Neighborhood Dog or Pet?
Most dogs would never hurt a fly. However, other dogs have a history of violent behavior. Some canines with no previous history can snap unexpectedly and bite someone completely out of the blue. It happens more frequently than you probably realize with 4.5 million animal bite cases occurring annually in the United States. A significant portion of those are severe dog bites from canines with stronger jaws. After getting bitten by a neighborhood dog, many people are at a loss for what to do. They might want compensation received through a personal injury lawsuit but also do not want to damage the relationship with the neighbor or potentially get the dog put down. Here are some things to keep in mind as you consider your options.
What Steps Should You Take?
You might have been taking an evening walk when a dog charges from someone’s house and attacks or perhaps you were at your neighbor’s house for a party when their dog or another of their pets bit you. Regardless of the circumstances, here are the steps you need to take immediately following a bite.
- Address the wound – You want to address the wound as best you can during the moment. You can wrap it in bandages and use a topical antibiotic.
- Seek medical treatment – Wounds can range in severity. Even minor bites should be looked at by a medical professional to prevent an infection from taking place. Hopefully your neighbors kept their dogs up to date with all their vaccinations, so you will not have to worry about rabies.
- Obtain contact information – Before driving yourself or taking an ambulance to a medical facility, you want to get your neighbor’s contact information. A phone number of email address will make it easier for getting insurance to pay for any medical bills you have.
- Document your injuries – You need to take pictures of your wounds before and after treatment. This will provide evidence in case the situation goes any further in the courts. Before going to the hospital, you should also try to photograph the area you were in to show what the environment was like immediately before the attack.
- Follow doctor’s orders – Take any medication prescribed to you or schedule another appointment to have your injury examined further. You do not want an infection breaking out.
Receiving an animal bite can result in many ailments, including crushed bones, nerve damage and scarring. More severe injuries can come up depending on the strength of the canine. After going through the above steps, another important question comes up.
Should You Contact an Attorney or Deal With It on Your Own?
After you make sure your wound is addressed, the prospect of taking legal action and filing a personal injury lawsuit comes into play. You might be hesitant to do this, especially if you are friends with the neighbor. Whatever you do, it is vital you take some action. The last thing you want to do is for that canine to attack someone else. That is why it is ultimately for the best to at least speak with a dog bite attorney to learn more about your options.
When Should You Speak With a Lawyer?
There are likely many attorneys in your area that have experience working on these types of cases. Most of the time a simple phone call to speak with one of these lawyers will provide guidance about whether to pursue a legal complaint or not. At this juncture, you are not committing to suing the other party, simply finding out what your options are and what the attorney thinks might be the best course of action depending on the circumstance of the incident. You are merely talking with a lawyer about your case and whether it would be wise to file a legal complaint. An attorney can also inform you about various legal definitions, including the dog bite statute that is common in most states and whether the dog owner meets the legal definition of negligence.
After meeting with a lawyer, you can speak with your neighbor about how he or she would like to proceed. This can be a nice courtesy, especially if you know one another. At this point, you can tell your neighbor that you have spoken with a legal authority and that you are prepared to take this to pursue a case if it comes to that. Again, most of the time your neighbor will likely want to resolve this issue before it gets to the point of you having to file a legal negligence complaint. However, even if you agree not to proceed with a legal complaint, you should still file a report with animal control. This is a good way to ensure the dog gets examined by professionals and goes to obedience classes to prevent this problem from ever happening again.
When these incidents occur, it can be an uncomfortable situatio, however, don’t ever be afraid to pursue just and fair compensation. As such, if you do pursue a case and hire an attorney, but you find that you are in need of financial help before your case settles, feel free to call us here at Signal. We can review your case and often provide a legal funding, which is a non-recourse advance on your future case award. It costs nothing to apply, and there are no monthly payments. Call us today at 1-800-635-1167.