Even the best-behaved dog can lash out when placed under enough stress. A person who has been bitten by a dog may have grounds to file a claim against that dog’s owner according to personal injury law in Santa Rosa, CA, depending on the circumstances of the bite.
Dog attacks can result in very serious injuries, which making a claim against a dog’s owner can be a complicated medical and legal process. With this in mind, here’s a quick overview of everything you should do if you’ve been bitten by a dog so you can protect yourself and potentially recover compensation in a personal injury claim:
- Seek medical care: This is especially important if the dog’s bite broke the skin or resulted in more serious injuries. You cannot completely trust that every dog has received all of its vaccinations, which means the dog may or may not be protected against rabies. Puncture wounds are especially prone to infection, which makes seeking medical care important. Be sure to take pictures of your wounds before you receive treatment, if possible, so you can document the damage the dog did to you.
- Collect witness information: If anyone in the area saw you get bitten, you should collect their contact information. In doing so, you’ll potentially be able to use their eyewitness testimony as part of a personal injury lawsuit or an insurance claim.
- Collect the owner’s information: You’ll also need to collect the information of the dog owner, much like you’d exchange information with another driver after a car accident. You’ll need to be able to contact the owner after the incident for a variety of reasons, including to verify the dog’s vaccination record. Get the name, address and contact information of the pet owner, and be sure to take down a description of the dog, including the age and breed.
- Contact animal control: It can be a good idea to file a report with your local animal control agency to help prevent the dog from lashing out again in the future. Plus, the information animal control collects in its own investigation could help your case down the road.
- Document everything: Just as you would in any other personal injury case, make sure you carefully document everything related to the incident. Document the injuries associated with the bite, the effects and symptoms you experience as a result of those injuries and all of the circumstances surrounding the bite in as much detail as you’re able to recall. In addition, be sure to hold on to photos, medical records, communications with the dog owner and any other written records you might have.
Not every circumstance in which a dog bites is eligible for a personal injury lawsuit. In some cases, the court might determine the dog was provoked, or that the victim did not have the right to be in the area they were in at the time the dog attacked. For this reason, it’s important that you consult a skilled personal injury attorney to determine whether or not you have a case and how best you can proceed.
For more information, contact The Law Office of Max G. Arnold, Inc. today and we will be happy to answer any questions you have about your case and about personal injury law in Santa Rosa, CA.
Categorised in: Personal Injury Lawyer