What to Do if Bitten by A Dog

Most people probably wouldn’t consider themselves to be at risk of becoming the victim of a dog bite. Yet, from 2008 to 2012 alone, injuries from dog attacks hospitalized over 34,000 Arizonans. When a dog attacks someone, the consequences quickly flood every area of the victim’s life. Injury, emotional trauma and costly medical bills are just a few of the consequences victims will face after suffering an attack. In extreme cases, the attack could cause severe disability or even death.

If you are ever attacked or bitten by a dog, you should:

  • Call 911 immediately, regardless of the severity of your wounds. A licensed medical professional should always perform a full medical examination following an animal attack and carefully document their findings. Ask for a copy of these documents for your records, as they will be an essential part of your injury claim later on.
  • While waiting for an ambulance to arrive, take down the name and contact information of the dog’s owner, as well as any witnesses who may have been present during the incident.
  • Hire a personal injury attorney to help you file a claim against the dog’s owner. As a precaution, while your case is still pending, your attorney should be the only person with whom you discuss any of the details. If, at any time, insurance agents, lawyers or anyone else contacts you on behalf of the other parties involved in your case, politely refer them to your attorney and then hang up.

If you or a loved one has been attacked or bitten by a dog and would like to pursue an injury claim in Phoenix, Ahwatukee or any of the surrounding areas, consider scheduling a consultation with one of the skilled and compassionate attorneys at the law offices of Skousen, Gulbrandsen & Patience, PLC. Our team of highly skilled legal professionals is equipped with the expertise necessary to help victims of dog attacks cope with the resulting damages, get their lives back on track, and ensure that the parties at fault are held accountable.

The legal claims process is rife with challenges and pitfalls that non-experts are usually oblivious to, and by extension, defeated by. Hiring an experienced personal injury attorney is the only way to ensure that you have the best possible chances of being awarded the financial compensation you need and deserve. Without an attorney to represent you, you could end up receiving insufficient compensation, keeping you entrenched in a state of financial devastation through no fault of your own. Your claim may even be denied altogether.

Being attacked by a dog can be a traumatic experience, often leaving victims injured, scarred and haunted by memories of the attack. If you’ve been the victim of a dog attack, it’s crucial for you to take certain steps, including seeking the help of an experienced dog bite attorney.

The most important thing you can do after an attack is to find out whether or not the dog has an owner. In most Arizona cases, the owner of the dog is liable for any injuries inflicted by their dog. There are certain cases where dog-walkers and even landlords can be responsible for an attack.

Following an attack, victims need to gather a variety of information, including:

  • The name and address of the dog’s owner, or whomever might be responsible for the dog.
  • Dog license information
  • Contact information of any witnesses present to the attack
  • Medical bills from injuries sustained by the attack
  • Pictures of the injuries, such as wounds, bite marks, bruises, and bloody clothing
  • A detailed report of the costs of any future medical costs, such as cosmetic surgery

Receiving compensation for dog attack injuries can difficult in some cases, depending on the severity of the injuries and the other various case circumstances. In some cases, the dog owner’s renter’s insurance or homeowner’s insurance will cover the expenses of the attack. However, if the dog owner does not have insurance, costs will typically come out of their assets.

First, seek medical treatment. Wounds that are bleeding profusely or where tearing has occurred require immediate treatment so visit an emergency room or speak with your doctor right away. If the wound is shallow, be sure to keep it clean, and get it treated with antibiotic ointment and bandages. Change the bandage often and consult a doctor right away in case of infection or very slow healing.

If the animal was a stray or a wild animal, you will absolutely need to see a doctor. If the animal can be caught, a veterinarian can perform tests to see whether or not it has rabies. For domestic animals, the vaccination status of the animal will be necessary for the same reason. Without either of those things, you may have to undergo rabies vaccinations yourself.

After tending to the wound, gather as much information as possible. Dog bites are a serious legal issue. Even if the dog has never had a history of aggression, the owner is liable for the injury in most cases under Arizona law. Obviously, the choice of whether to pursue action against the owner and dog is up to you, but if the dog is a stranger and you do not know the owner, it is a good idea to collect as much information as you can.

  • Obtain the owner’s contact info and the dog’s license number. Find out as much about the dog’s vaccination status as possible.
  • Talk to witnesses if applicable. If anyone saw the incident, their testimony is invaluable if you have to go to court.
  • Call animal control if you can’t find the owner, or if the owner is uncooperative. The dog will need to be quarantined and tested for diseases, especially if it is a stray dog.

Call a lawyer. You may not need to sue anyone. Many dog owners are very sympathetic with each other, understand that these things happen, take care of medical expenses, and get training for the dog. In a perfect world, that would happen every time.

However, some dog owners are fearful that their dog will be put down or that they will get in trouble for a lack of vaccinations or registration, and therefore refuse to cooperate. Medical bills, pain and suffering, permanent damage and missed work can all add up to a financial burden, and you need to protect your interests. Talk to a personal injury attorney to get an honest outside perspective of your case and to see what your options are for recovery.

Whether the defendant is insured or not, the right dog bite attorney can help find victims get the compensation they deserve as a result of the damages from the attack. It is important to keep in mind that insurance companies typically only offer dog bite victims without legal representation 10 to 20 percent of what victims with legal representation would receive. The experienced personal injury attorney at Skousen, Gulbrandsen & Patience, PLC can help you understand your rights as a victim and help you get the compensation you deserve. Call us today at 480-833-8800 to set up your free initial consultation.

You don’t have to navigate the court system alone. The experts at SGP Law Firm are here for you. For help with a claim, please do not hesitate to reach out and schedule a free consultation with a member of our team today.