When you or a loved one has been bitten by a dog, it can be difficult to think straight. You may be confused, hurt, frightened, and overwhelmed. These steps are designed to help you do what’s necessary to begin the healing process as quickly and effectively as possible.
There are three primary steps you should take immediately following a dog attack:
- Get out of danger. Remove the victim and any other parties from the vicinity of the aggressive dog, then seek immediate medical help for any injuries.
- Preserve any evidence. As soon as the danger is removed, ensure that any relevant evidence is preserved that can help establish the facts of the case.
- Consult an attorney. As soon as possible following a dog attack, consult a dog bite lawyer familiar with the applicable laws and guidelines in your area. Your lawyer will protect your interests in the case and will be able to ensure that you’re compensated for your injuries. Do not accept payment, sign any papers, or discuss the case with the dog’s owners, their insurance company, or their lawyer before you have a lawyer to protect your own interests.
Step One: Get out of danger
The first step when you or someone else has been bitten by a dog is to remove the person from danger and seek medical attention immediately. Even a small bite can cause infection or other problems if not treated promptly. Any type of puncture wound may also cause scarring or other lasting effects that can be treated more effectively the sooner they’re addressed.
Especially if any of the bites are in the facial area, you may want to request to be seen by a plastic surgeon who can evaluate the injuries and either help prevent or treat any disfiguring scarring.
Step Two: Preserve any evidence
Once everyone is out of immediate danger and the victim is receiving any emergency medical care necessary, it is essential that you begin to gather evidence to support the facts in the case.
Whenever possible, preserve and gather such things as the following:
- Any clothing damaged during the attack
- Medical records from treatment of the injury
- Police reports from the incident
- Photographs of the victim’s wounds
- Photographs or descriptions of the dog
- Photographs or descriptions of the scene of the attack
- Names and contact information of any witnesses to the attack or other relevant events
Step Three: Contact an attorney
After the attack, it is likely that you will be contacted by the dog’s owners, their attorney, and/or insurance company, any of whom might offer some sort of settlement, agreement, or payment for your injuries. It is important that you do not discuss the case directly with any of these parties until you’ve gotten your own experienced dog bite lawyer, such as Anthony Castelli in Cincinnati, Ohio. Any agreements you reach or papers you sign may limit your legal recourse to be compensated for your injuries.
Your lawyer will determine whether additional evidence and information is needed regarding your case, and may be able to help you gather additional information, such as information about the dog’s owners, insurance coverage, witness statements, and other information that could strengthen your case. Your attorney will also be familiar with the dog bite law in your area, so he or she can evaluate the case in light of local laws, guidelines, and regulations.