What to Do If You’re Bitten by a Stray Dog
Without a doubt, dogs are one of the most popular types of pets in America. In 2015, it was estimated that there were about 70 million dogs in the United States. With so many dogs around, it comes as no surprise that dog bites are extremely common. According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, over 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs each year in the United States alone and over 800,000 of those people are bitten to the extent that they need medical treatment. While the majority of dog bite victims tend to be bitten by dogs they were familiar with, dog bites involving stray dogs do happen.
After a dog bite, one of the most important things you can do is ask the owner about the dog’s medical history. But what should you do when you aren’t able to immediately identify the dog’s owner? Or if you’re not even sure if the dog does have an owner?
If you’re bitten by a stray or loose dog, do not try to catch the dog yourself. Instead, contact the police or local animal control office to report the bite. Note exactly where and when the accident took place and try to describe the dog to the best of your ability. If you’re able to take a picture of the dog, that will be helpful. Animal control will try to catch the dog themselves so they can test it for rabies and try to identify an owner. In some cases, officials are aware of stray dogs that cause problems or dogs that have a history of getting loose and may know whether or not the dog has an owner.
After reporting a bite from a stray dog, get medical treatment right away. When you’re unsure whether or not a dog has an owner, be sure to keep anything that might be considered evidence, such as torn clothes. While your legal options are limited if a dog truly doesn’t have an owner, you could have grounds for a lawsuit if the dog got loose because of an owner’s negligence. Don’t forget to take pictures of your injuries and keep detailed records about any medical treatment you receive and take notes about how the injury impacts your life. If an owner is found, all of these things will be very important to have.
If it’s determined that a dog does indeed have an owner, try to contact them to get information about the dog that bit you. Also try to get some information about their homeowners insurance policy because, in many cases, homeowners insurance policies can cover dog bite injuries, even if the bite occurred away from the policy holder’s property.
If you’ve been bitten by a loose dog, be sure to contact a dog bite lawyer as soon as possible. Even if the dog’s owner is found and they have insurance, a lawyer will handle your case to make sure you receive all the compensation you need to fully recover from your injuries. Dog bites can be very overwhelming to deal with and at Goodwin & Scieszka, we’ve worked with many Michigan dog bite victims just like you. Contact us today so we can start learning more about your case.