After a bite from a dog, you may consider filing a personal injury lawsuit against that dog’s owner or their insurer. However, before you start the process, it is in your best interest to familiarize yourself with common claim mistakes, so that you can increase the chances of your claim being successful.
Not Seeking Medical Treatment
The worst thing that you could do is not receive medical treatment for an injury. When you file a lawsuit later, the defense will try to downplay the severity of your injuries because you did not seek immediate medical attention. Therefore, always see a doctor. Also, a dog’s mouth is highly infectious, and the dog may have been infected with rabies. Without proper testing and treatment, you could develop a life-threatening condition.
To avoid this, go to the emergency room immediately after the incident. Let the treating doctor know that you have been attacked by a dog, so that it is documented in your medical record.
Not Reporting the Bite
It is not uncommon for someone to be traumatized following a dog attack or bite. However, you must contact animal control or the police to report the attack. There are laws about damages and dog attacks; therefore, not reporting the incident may weaken the claims in your lawsuit and possibly impede you from filing in the first place.
Not Photographing Injuries
Some dog bites will heal on their own, while others leave permanent scars. Regardless, you must document how the injuries looked at the time they occurred – this means photographing your injuries. If you cannot, have a family member photograph the injuries for you. This establishes the severity of the attack, and will show jurors how severe your injuries were at the time when the accident occurred.
Providing a Statement to the Insurance Company
After a claim is filed with the owner’s insurance, you are most likely contacted by the insurance company’s adjuster. They will request an official statement from you, however it is your legal right to not provide a statement. Doing so could provide them with information to lessen your compensation amount as much as possible. DO NOT TALK TO ANY INSURANCE COMPANY BEFORE CONSULTING AN EXPERIENCED DOG BITE ATTORNEY!
Never give an official statement. Instead, decline the request and contact an attorney. If the insurer attempts to tell you that you are required to provide a statement, kindly decline and speak to an attorney.
Seeking Assistance from a Dog Bite Attorney in Pennsylvania
While you may have strong evidence in your case, not speaking to an attorney could lessen your compensation amount or result in a dismissed case. Contact a Pennsylvania attorney with experience in dog bite cases. Jeffrey H. Penneys, Esq. can assist with your case. Contact him immediately at 215-771-0430 on his cell or 215-987-3550 on his office line. You can also request more information through his online contact form.