Right after you or a loved one has been bitten by someone’s dog, the first action you should take is to seek medical attention – whether from an emergency room or by seeing your family physician. If the bite is life-threatening, contact 911. Even if your bite wound looks minor, you need emergency attention. Bites can easily become infected, and because the dog that bit you or your loved one has not been tested, you do not know if they carry any diseases.
A dog bite or attack can throw anyone off guard. Whether you knew the dog or not, dog bites are unexpected, and when they happen, you may find yourself at a loss on what to do next.
Once you seek medical care, there are a few more steps you should take to protect yourself. Not only can you hold the dog’s owner liable for any medical costs associated with the bite, but you may be entitled to further compensation for any lost wages, pain, and suffering.
The Steps to Take Immediately after a Dog Attack or Bite
Whether it is yourself or a loved one, knowing what to do immediately after a dog bite is crucial. These steps can help doctors provide the correct treatment for the bite as well – especially if they know the dog’s medical history.
1. Identify the Dog (and Owner If You Know It)
Before you leave the scene, if it is safe enough to do so, try to identify the dog. If you know the dog, then you will know the owner, which you can tell the police when you file your report. If you do not know the dog or the owner personally, get that dog owner’s information or their address if you know where the dog came from.
You will want the dog’s vet records, specifically their immunizations. If the dog has not received its rabies shot, you may need treatment for a potential rabies exposure.
Even if you do not know the dog and cannot find the owner, try to write down a description of the dog as best you can so that animal control will know what to look for.
2. Go and Seek Medical Care Immediately
Do not wait. Instead, seek medical care immediately after the bite occurs. If the bleeding is too severe, contact emergency responders. You will want a doctor to clean the wound thoroughly, because these bites are at higher risk for infection. The physician may put you on a course of antibiotics, and they may swab the wound for further testing to make sure the dog was not carrying any diseases. While there are only a few very rare diseases that can pass from canine to human, if you do not know the dog or their medical history, it is best to test for these diseases to be safe.
3. File a Bite Report
You will want to contact your local authorities to file a bite report. In Pennsylvania, you should report the bite or attack to the local police department, and you should also contact your local Department of Health. The police should automatically notify animal control authorities. If the dog and owner are already identified, animal control will take the dog into custody for an automatic quarantine and test.
If the dog is not identified, they will want to know the details of where the attack occurred and the type of dog they are looking for so that they can, hopefully, find the dog before it bites someone else.
4. Take Photographs of the Dog Bites
You will want to take photographs of the bite wounds as soon as you can. You also should photograph their healing process and any scars that remain after they heal. These photographs can help paint a picture of what you endured while you were recovering and show a jury how severe they were at the time – since your injury will likely heal before your injury claim goes to court.
5. Speak with an Attorney
Even if you do not plan to file a lawsuit against the dog’s owner, you will want to file a claim with their homeowner’s insurance policy to receive compensation for your out-of-pocket costs and other financial losses. An attorney who has experience with dog attack cases can help you file a claim, negotiate with the insurance company to receive a fair settlement, and investigate the instance to see if the dog’s owner was grossly negligent.
What Compensation Will I Receive?
Compensation in a dog bite case varies, depending on the severity of the bite, your total damages, and the owner’s actions. If the bite is not severe and you will make a full recovery, compensation would be less than someone who suffers permanent disfigurement.
Speak with a Local Dog Bite Attorney Now
Navigating injury laws and statutes regarding Pennsylvania dog attack cases is highly complex. While you recover from your injuries, or while you care for a loved one that has just been traumatized by a vicious attack, you need an advocate by your side.
Attorney Jeffrey H. Penneys, Esq. has helped countless victims and their loved ones receive the compensation they deserve following a dog attack. Not only will he fight tirelessly for the compensation you deserve, but he holds owners liable for their actions so that others are not harmed by the same dog who attacked you or your family member.
To explore your options, contact him today at the office, toll-free, or directly on his cell. You can also ask for more information about dog bite cases by using the online contact form. Speak with us today and learn more about how we can help you.
Speak with us today and we will fight tirelessly for the compensation that you or your family member deserves. Call us now and learn how we can help you!