Dog Bites & the Rule of Law: 6 Practical Legal Tips for Dog Owners

September 27, 2022
4 mins read

Dogs are man’s best friend, as you have been told for years. While this is undoubtedly true for the most part, some dogs can be extremely dangerous and, when provoked, can lash out. Usually, it’s not the dog’s breed or characteristics that cause this, but rather poor ownership. Nonetheless, when you have been injured by a dog and need medical treatment, whether or not it was correctly raised is the last thing on your mind. This post will explain what you should do if you are attacked by a dog and what recourse you might have regarding compensation.

Contact An Attorney

Apart from seeking medical attention as soon as possible (more on that in the next point), you should also speak to an attorney. Although you may be reticent to begin legal proceedings through fear of complications and expense, an experienced lawyer can help you in numerous ways. Nonetheless, you should contact a lawyer with specific experience in these cases. The best way to begin your search is to check out online reviews of different personal injury lawyers. Start with Trustpilot if you are unsure where to begin, as this site only allows reviews from genuine clients and is less likely to be biased or include irrelevant information. Moreover, you can see at a glance whether or not a firm is worth contacting or if you should continue your search. 

In addition, check to see if an initial consultation is available. This will provide you with enough information enabling you to understand if your suit is worth pursuing. On their Trustpilot page, Craig Swapp office in Spokane personal injury lawyers recommend that you make a simple call so that they can determine your case. By doing so, you can get a feeling of costs, steps you should take, and general advice pertaining to your injury. When dealing with a dog bite case, it can be challenging to understand where to begin, so this consultation is extremely valuable. Nonetheless, when searching for a lawyer to represent your case, you should heed the following points:

  1. Experience: First and foremost, you should select an attorney or law firm with expertise in personal injury and specific knowledge related to dog bites. 
  2. Demeanor: Your attorney should be personable and able to communicate well. This is vital because not only will you be communicating with them regularly, but they will also need to speak to the owner of the dog in question. If they can communicate effectively with the dog owner, you are more likely to get a positive result.
  3. Track record: It shouldn’t be challenging to find out their track record. If a company is successful, it should be more than willing to share its results with you.
  4. Reviews: Online reviews should be a key consideration when selecting a law firm. However, do not be swayed by a few negative reviews, and avoid overt bias when possible. 
  5. Availability: Any personal injury case is distressing, but animal bites evoke a deep sense of fear in humans. You need to be able to discuss the issue with your lawyer so that the case can be closed as soon as possible and provide a satisfactory outcome for everyone involved.

Get Medical Attention As Soon As Possible

In addition to seeking legal advice as soon as possible, you should seek medical attention immediately. If the bite is severe enough or you are in fear of your life, it might be wise to contact emergency services. You can contact the police for assistance, as well as paramedics for treatment of your wounds. Nonetheless, the critical point is to seek treatment as soon as possible so you can receive the relevant vaccinations, such as rabies and tetanus. Moreover, if you are serious about initiating a lawsuit, you will need evidence of the attack. In addition, you might need a police report and proof of your medical treatment in order to make a claim on the owner.

Find Out Who Owns The Dog And Inform Them Of What Happened

Once you have received medical attention and spoken with a lawyer, it is time to contact the dog’s owner and inform them of what happened and your next steps. Although you could contact the owner immediately if you know them or know where they live, it is wise to wait for legal advice before initiating contact. Moreover, emergency services might contact the dog’s owner on your behalf if emergency services respond to the scene. If this is the case, you should ask them for a report you can keep and use if the case goes to trial.

Document Everything You Can 

As with all personal injury cases, it is essential to document and log all the information you can. Although some information might not be relevant to the case and impermissible in court, it is prudent to keep everything ranging from photos to official expenses. In order to make sure that you are documenting everything, it is vital to have a system in place that will work for you and your needs. It may be helpful to create a checklist or journal where you can record what details you want to document at the time of the incident. Documenting the following information is essential:

  • Photos: If you intend to seek compensation for your injuries, you should keep a photographic record. Irresponsible dog owners might place warning signs on their properties after the attack occurs, claiming the signs were already in place when the attack took place. Additionally, you can take photos of your injuries to prove the severity of the situation.
  • Bills: Keep all receipts related to out-of-pocket expenses. Courts can then determine the correct compensation amount, ensuring you don’t lose out.

Speak With Witnesses If They Are Available

Witnesses are crucial to a personal injury case. A lawyer needs to speak with witnesses in a personal injury case because it is the only way to get an accurate idea of what happened. Witnesses can give information about the accident, what they saw, and how they felt. They can also tell you if any other people were involved or if anyone else was injured.

Keep A Calm Attitude Throughout

There is a possibility that dog bites can cause severe emotional distress and even result in the development of an intense canine phobia. Nonetheless, remaining calm throughout the process is vital to ensure you provide the correct information when required, increasing your chances of a successful lawsuit. 

Dog bites tend to be on the more distressing end of the personal injury spectrum, making it vital to hire an attorney specializing in these cases. Hopefully, this post has given you enough information to recover from the ordeal and get the compensation you need to move forward.

I am a contributing author and co-founder of Every now and then i find myself hooked to my laptop researching and trying to discover new species of animals.

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