What to Do When a Dog Bites: Mistakes to Avoid
When dogs bite, it often feels like it happens completely out of the blue. One minute, you’re going for a walk in the park or visiting a friend, the next you’re suddenly the victim of a dog bite. Anytime injuries occur suddenly, it’s extremely overwhelming and it’s hard to know what to do next. Not only is it easy to forget about what you should do, it’s also easy to forget about the things you shouldn’t do. So when a dog bites, what are some of the mistakes people commonly make?
Not Getting Immediate Medical Attention
The very first thing you should do after a dog bite is try to figure out just how severe your injury is. If it’s clear the bite only caused superficial injuries like small scratches that barely broke the skin, treating the injury at home should be enough. But if there’s even a chance that your injuries might be more severe, it’s very important to get medical attention right away. Seeing a doctor right away helps directly link your injuries to the attack and will create a record of the extent of your injuries. If you wait to get medical attention, the dog’s owner might try to deny their dog caused your injuries or claim that you’re trying to play up your injuries after the fact.
Not Keeping Records
When dealing with an injury caused by any kind of accident, it’s important to keep detailed records. Having an injury that suddenly needs to be taken care of, it can be easy to forget about some of the details. Take notes about everything that pertains to your injuries, including doctors you see, what happens during appointments, and medications you take or treatments you receive. Don’t forget to include notes about things like pain levels and how your injury directly impacts your life. Pictures are also great to have, so go ahead and take pictures of your injuries and how they look as they heal. All of this information will be very useful if you choose to file a lawsuit.
Not Reporting the Bite
If you’ve been bitten by a dog, it’s very important to report the bite to police or animal control because it helps establish a record of the dog biting and injuring people. When people think of dog bites, they tend to think of attacks involving stray dogs the victim didn’t know beforehand. However, that’s not always the case. In many cases, dog bite victims were familiar with the dog that bit them, which can make them reluctant to report the bite because they don’t want to cause problems for friends or family members. But even if a dog bite victim doesn’t have a prior relationship the dog’s owner, they can still be hesitant to report dog bites for a lot of reasons Sometimes, they’re afraid something bad will happen to the dog, other times, the owner of the dog begged them not to report the bite and promised to cover any medical bills.
Not Calling a Lawyer
When a dog bite is severe enough to need medical attention, contact a dog bite lawyer as soon as possible. Even if a dog’s owner swears up and down that they’ll pay your medical bills or if the bite is reported to the owner’s insurance, remember that these people have a vested interest in paying out as little as possible. Having a lawyer on your side will help make sure you receive all the compensation you need to recover. Don’t accept any settlements or make any statements to insurance companies without talking to a lawyer first. At Goodwin & Scieszka, we’re very experienced in helping victims of dog bites. Contact us to find out how we can help in your situation.