While most people consider dogs to be “man’s best friend,” we still have to be very wary of our canine companions. According to a study reported by the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 4.7 million dog bites occur in the United States each year, and about 800,000 of those bites result in medical care and treatment. That’s a pretty high number considering the U.S. population is currently 327.7 million. This means 1 out of every 69 people will be or have been bitten by a dog. Those odds do not work in our favor.
If you or someone you love falls victim to a dog attack, do you know the proper steps to take to guarantee you receive fair and righteous treatment? A dog bite is a physically and psychologically traumatic event and you need to know your rights when it comes to health costs and other compensation. Unfortunately, some will not inform you on what you are entitled to monetarily or simply are not informed themselves. That’s where an experienced attorney like Stewart & Stewart come in—to relieve you and your family of the stress and time of having to dig for legal information.
First and foremost, you should see your local doctor. Visiting a doctor’s office (private physician or emergency room) will reduce the chance of infections and further complications to the injury. Outside of preventing infection, having your medical records updated and on hand will help add to your overall case. This information will be able to show what was damaged and how serious the bite was or could have potentially been.
Be sure to keep record of all medical expenses, including treatment, related receipts and prescription purchases. These expense records will help demonstrate how this incident has affected your life financially. Don’t forget to take clear photos of injured body parts. This is a step that can easily be forgotten, but it’s extremely important for visual evidence. If the injury requires follow-up appointments or surgery, take follow-up photos as well to track progression. You want to show a clear timeline of impact.
While often an unwanted step to take, one of the most important steps is to contact the dog’s owners, if there is one. Update them on your injuries and ensure you have the correct contact information—you’re going to want to hold onto their information for later. When the owner is known, it builds for a negligence case, meaning the owner knew an attack was a reasonable possibility and has to take responsibility for their animal’s actions. In cases where you are unsure of the dog’s owners, contact the local area’s police department so they can assist in the search for the owner.
Equally important is gathering all witness statements in detail; your attorneys will want to paint a picture of the incident and make it clear what occurred. These can be neighbors, household members in attendance, even the police officer who was first on the scene. Make note of important details such as if the dog was on a leash and how far they were from their residence. These details add context to the situation and give more depth to the scene.
If you go through this unfortunate ordeal, you’re going to want an attorney on your side that knows what to do and treats your case with the utmost care. Stewart & Stewart is your Indianapolis personal injury lawyer that has experience working with dog bite injuries and knows what’s best for their clients. For more information on what we can do for you, give us a call at 1-800-33-33-LAW or visit our website today.