Dog bites have become somewhat of an epidemic in the United States. There are almost 5 million dog bite victims each year, which is about 2% of the entire population. Of those dog bites, approximately 800,000 require medical attention, many in hospital emergency rooms. Most of the victims of dog bites who receive medical attention are children, half of whom are bitten in the face. It is estimated that 26 people die from dog bites each year. In more than two-thirds of the cases included in the study, the life-threatening or fatal attack was apparently the first known dangerous behavior by the animal.
Dog attack victims in the United States suffer over $1 billion in monetary losses every year. According to the Insurance Information Institute, in 2005, dog bites cost insurers over three hundred million dollars, and dog bite claims accounted for about 15% of liability claims dollars paid under homeowners insurance policies.
There are attorneys who specialize in dog bite injuries and getting you the compensation you deserve after this terrifying experience. An experienced dog bite attorney in your area will study the effects of your injury and gather the evidence necessary to completely prove your case and what the future effects will be on you monetarily, physically, and emotionally.
What to do After a Dog Bite
It is important to identify the animal that bit you because if it is a stray and you cannot identify it, you are facing the possibility of having to submit to treatment for rabies, which can be painful. Also, if you were attacked by a dog or any wild animal being kept by a person, you probably are entitled to receive compensation from the animal’s owner, and you might really need that compensation to pay your medical bills, reimburse you for lost income, pay for cosmetic surgery in the future, and help you overcome the pain and suffering from your injuries.
After that, get medical attention. If you are wounded on the face, insist on treatment by a plastic surgeon because emergency room doctors are great at keeping people alive but not necessarily the best at making stitches and wounds look good. After that, be sure to follow the directions of the physician and take all the medications that are prescribed. You might also be ordered to stay out of the sun, use sun block, use scar reduction lotion, change bandages, report for follow up treatment, report for removal of stitches, massage the healing areas, etc.
If the dog owner is insured, you might get a call from an insurance company representative. You should ask him or her for the following information:
- Name of insurance company
- Address of his or her office
- Telephone number
- Claim number
- Name of the person who is insured
- The amount of money available to pay medical expenses
You should not do any of the following:
- Do not discuss money, payment of money, settlement, injury value or anything else involving money
- Do not set up an appointment
- Do not write a letter or a memo
- Do not permit yourself to be tape recorded
- Do not allow the victim to be photographed
- Do not discuss who is responsible
- Do not accept any money
An experienced dog bite attorney can help you through the legal process that may ensue after you are bitten by a dog. As a dog bite victim, you may incur many different kinds of damages and losses, from medical bills and emotional damage to loss of the opportunity to earn income in the future because of disfigurement. Furthermore, an attorney is the only person who can turn a claim into a lawsuit if you are not being treated fairly. Without the threat of a lawsuit, you are at the mercy of the insurance company.