Dog Bites

Bitten by a Dog? What to Do and When to Call a Dog Bite Attorney

Richmond Dog Bite Injury AttorneyThere’s a reason that you tense up when a dog growls or when you see an animal strain at a leash or charge at you. Instinctively, you are aware of the danger that comes with being harmed by an animal. Even with modern medicine to treat a bite, severe complications can and do happen.

Dealing with the aftermath of a bite isn’t always simple. It’s important to reach out to a dog bite attorney for the best resolution to a situation. Dogs that bite create a risk to themselves and others, without proper steps being taken incidents can repeat or even result in the eradication of the animal. 

There are a lot of dogs and a lot of people in America. Even with only 81 percent of bites causing an injury, 800,000 bites require care each year. This costs millions in insurance and hospital bills each year. 

If these numbers seem exaggerated, it’s because so few bites get attention or compensation.

Why Hire a Dog Bite Attorney?

One way to combat this misconception is by hiring a qualified attorney to handle your dog bite case in order to determine your legal options. The legal system can’t make moves to prevent incidents and care for dog bite victims if awareness is not raised.

A bite attorney offers you help in confronting the financial and emotional ramifications of the situation. They know the process and what to expect in the short and long term. When hiring an attorney to handle such a case, look for no up-front costs and an attorney who is willing to have his or her fee based on whether they win the case or not.

When selecting an attorney, you want to look for someone that offers a free consultation and someone with expertise and experience in the field. This gives you the best help in arriving at a satisfactory conclusion that compensates you and protects others from harm.

Expertise

very type of legal battle contains nuances that need to be understood to approach and not fail out of the gate. In the case of dog bites, an attorney needs to be familiar with dealing with doctors, vets, animal control, and insurance companies.

Evidence has to be gathered quickly to avoid delays in both coverage of care and before it disappears. Information on the breed of the dog, the location and severity of the bite, and treatment protocols all need to be considered to determine both the facts of the case and the road to recovery.

Without experience in all of these elements, an attorney can miss a crucial step opening holes in the case or leaving out needed compensation.

Experience

Knowing what to do is only half the battle. An attorney also needs experience in court and working with the various players in that field. No amount of theory replaces practical, hands-on knowledge.

Working with dozens of clients a year and seeing them awarded fairly and routinely is the mark of a good attorney.

Experienced attorneys also help to ensure that the process of your dog bite lawsuit is handled swiftly, without hassle. You need to focus on your recovery and not battling in court. You also need medical bills paid and your finances secured from lost wages and other stressors ASAP.

What To Do After a Bite

Taking proper care of your injury is the most immediate step that needs to be taken after a bite. This includes going to a doctor that can diagnose the severity of the injury. This starts your recovery and limits the secondary damage of an injury. Not only that, but it also starts a record that can be used to build your case. 

If you can’t go to a doctor immediately, take photos of the injury. Record where you were when the attack happened. Here are the steps, in order to keep from being overwhelmed by the experience.

  • Find Medical Help – A large injury could warrant an emergency room visit. For smaller injuries, schedule an appointment but make certain you see a doctor even for a scratch, animal wounds can cause infections or even rabies.
  • Report the incident – Authorities such as police and animal control need to know that the attack occurred. This helps keep the numbers correct and protects others from subsequent attacks.
  • Record Everything – Take phots of injuries, the dog, and your surroundings to establish a trail. Get witness information to give to an attorney and/or police.

Dog Bites

Understand Bite Complications

A dog bite isn’t just an abrasion or a puncture wound. Every type of wound carries with it secondary problems that need to be addressed. In an interview about the subject, an ER physician explains what to look out for. Issues with tissue damage to the tendons and muscles need to be considered.

Anything that is severed, even partially, can limit your range of motion and interfere with performing tasks. Blood flow may be interrupted internally and lead to paralysis and necrosis of tissues. Dog mouths are dirty and infection risks are high both in and around the injury site.

Infection isn’t limited to elements in the saliva. Traces of food and other particles in the dog’s mouth can lodge in wounds. Flushing the wound with plenty of water (and what soap you can tolerate) is a good measure. Ideally, samples from the dog should be taken to confirm that its shots are to date and it isn’t otherwise ill.

Know the Statute of Limitations

Getting to a doctor and keeping injuries from worsening is the number one priority. It’s not uncommon to write off an injury of this sort and go back to daily life, only to suffer a complication later. 

Your first instinct isn’t typically to file a lawsuit. In the case of a dog bite, you have two years from the date of the incident to get a case started. There are some extenuating circumstances that can extend that but mostly they apply to misdiagnosis and malpractice in care of the wound.

Factors Affecting a Case

Many factors have a bearing on the end result of a case. Determinations of fault are the most important for determining the success of a case. The owner of the dog (and their insurance representatives) will want to argue that you were provoking the dog, trespassing, or otherwise to blame for your injury.

In addition, the extent of injury matters for determining fair compensation. This determination calculates the pain and suffering of the injury, losses you faced to current and future earnings, and medical expenses.

In the case of a death resulting from the injuries or a child requiring surgery to the face, those numbers go up quickly. If a dog has been a previous offender, it may be appended and put down. City ordinances can also apply heavy fines on the owner and/or training institutions that handled the animal.

Finally, if the dog has bitten someone in the past and failed to receive training that also can increase damages considerably. 

Common Breeds to Look Out For

When looking at breeds that cause the majority of injuries, it isn’t about villainizing a breed but looking at statistics. Pit bull terriers, rottweilers, mastiffs, and German shepherds lead the numbers in these cases. This comes down to several factors, one is that these dogs are more territorial and aggressive by nature.

Secondly, they are often chosen for their aggression and then further trained. The stigma they have received as ‘problem’ animals leads to their adoption by those that want a guard dog. There are also groups of people that have no formal training but want to rehabilitate the animals.

The particular jaw shape of these animals allows them to provide more force in a bite, resulting in greater injury. The pit bull terrier leads in wrongful death because the animal is physically incapable of letting go after a bite, leading to much greater chance of a deadly injury.

In addition, dogs often bred as fighting dogs or hybrid wolf-dogs create an extra potential for harm. These animals are not dangerous by default but are more prone to be involved in incidents.

Get Help

If you have been injured by a dog and a bite occurred, you need an experienced dog bite attorney to help you. Training and experience matter to bringing a swift resolution to your case.

Dealing with a dog bite injury is not only painful physically but emotionally. Many people feel vulnerable after an attack and others are reluctant to report out of fear that the animal will be destroyed. 

To tackle these issues, it’s important to look for outside help to contextualize the situation. For more information, contact Collier and Collier your local dog bite lawyer for a consultation.