When you are bitten by a dog, the dog's owner is almost always legally responsible. Even minor bites can create a host of medical and financial problems. Read on for some tips on handling a dog bite personal injury situation.
1. Most of the time, owners take their responsibilities very seriously, and not all dogs are dangerous. Unfortunately, even dogs that have never caused problems before can become unpredictable and attack an innocent person. That is why cities have leash laws and why the courts allow dog bite victims to sue a dog owner for negligence and personal injury.
2. If you are bitten by a dog, the owner might be responsible for a variety of damages such as these:
- Medical expenses related to the bite, including physical therapy and reconstructive surgery.
- Lost wages from any time missed from work.
- Reimbursement for personal property like clothing, bags, devices, and more.
- Pain and suffering. This is the general effect of being injured and is based on the severity of the injury. Severe injuries could result in thousands if not hundreds of thousands of dollars in pain and suffering. For example, someone permanently disfigured by the dog bite might be owed well over $100,000 in pain and suffering alone.
3. It's vital that victims seek medical treatment right away. Even small bites that barely break the skin could result in a nasty infection that could spread and be life-threatening. For more severe bites or when bites are numerous, you might need to be placed on intravenous (IV) antibiotics for a few days to help fight the infection. Hospitalizations may be in order for the very young, the elderly, or those already in poor health.
4. When it comes to a personal injury case, evidence rules the day. The more you can gather, the stronger your case. With a dog bite, that evidence might include photographs of the dog, the wounds, and maybe the location where the incident took place. If the dog escaped from a yard with an inadequate fence, that needs to be photographed before the owner can make changes. Another important form of evidence is eye-witnesses who are not related to you or know you but who saw the attack.
5. Be sure to let the local animal control agency know about the bite. They keep informed about bites and may take action if the dog is making a habit of biting people. Cities can also levy fines on owners who fail to control their animals.
6. There may be several ways to be paid your damages. If the dog owner is a homeowner, some homeowners' insurance policies may pay the victim. You can also sue the dog owner directly, even if they don't appear to be wealthy. Wages can be garnished, and the owner can be made to pay what they owe using any means possible.
To find out more, speak to a personal injury lawyer today.