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A Personal Injury Lawyer’s Perspective on Dog Bites
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A Personal Injury Lawyer’s Perspective on Dog Bites

Bites and other injuries from animals occur very quickly because animals tend to react out of fear or nervousness. At times, dogs think their owners are being threatened and react to protect them. Regardless of the cause of the incident and where it occurred, you may be entitled to compensation for damages. If you or a loved one has been the victim of a bite or other injury by someone’s pet, read the information below that can help to assist you with your injury and possible case.

Get Medical Attention

Get medical attention. Some injuries are not immediately known, such as internal bleeding, damaged tendons or fractured bones. A dog’s bite can exert 450 pounds of pressure on an object. A doctor will most likely be able to inform you and chart your medical injuries even if you are unaware of them. You could be suffering from infection without knowing it. A blood draw may reveal an elevated level of white blood cells, which is an indication of infection. A fever is also an indication of infection. Some aches and pains don’t show up until the day after. Don’t be afraid to return for medical treatment if nothing was found initially. Keep records of your medical bills and hospital visits so that you can recover these damages at a later point.

Make a Report

Make a report of the incident to the police or animal control authorities. You may wish to put off making a report until you have contacted an attorney to avoid signing your name in a report that appears as though you are admitting fault.

Some animals do not appear to have an owner, i.e. the animal was not wearing a tag identifying the owner. The animal control authorities will attempt to pick up the animal and may have it quarantined. During this time, they may be able to identify the owner of the animal, especially if it has an implanted microchip, and determine whether it is carrying any diseases. Quarantines can take place at the owner’s residence or the dog pound between 7 and 20 days. However, quarantines are not necessary if the animal has a current rabies vaccination. At this time, you may find it helpful to discover whether the animal has any previous attacks. You can check animal control department records for this information.

If you contact the police to make a report, be sure to obtain a copy of the report.

Get Contact Information

Regardless of how bad you think the injury is or whether you think you were injured by the animal, get the name, phone number, and address from the owner of the animal. It can be later determined that your injury was not the result of the animal, but there is a chance that it was. You will want their contact information for medical and legal purposes. Be sure to get witnesses’ contact information as well. Witnesses are valuable in providing validating evidence and to provide a way of contacting the owner of the pet.

Evidence

Start documentation of the incident to the extent that you can. This includes photographs of the injury, which include before and after medical treatment, photographs of where the attack occurred if it is safe to obtain this information, personal accounts and anything else that details the incident. If you write something for the attorney, be sure to let them know immediately as this may be protected information. Be completely forthcoming with the attorney, and don’t shy away from any detail. Personal injury attorneys may need information that you consider trivial at the moment.

Contact a personal injury lawyer if you or a loved one has been injured by an animal regardless of whether you followed all of the steps above. However, the information listed above is important to follow to the extent possible. You may be entitled to compensation for your injuries, and you will need evidence to do this. A personal injury lawyer can assist you with your questions, concerns and obtain evidence. You may be entitled to recover the cost incurred from lost wages, pain and suffering, medical care and treatment and other damages.

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