Unfortunately, dog bites and attacks occur all too frequently and it is important to know what to do after.
Dogs are like family members, so people tend to let their guard down when around unfamiliar canines. Dog bites are common in Ohio and Michigan, which are both listed in the top 10 dog bite states with more than 1500 dog bite claims per year. It is important to remain cautious around any dog you are unfamiliar with to avoid confrontation with the animal.
The Insurance Information Institute and State Farm reported that “dog bites and other dog-related injuries account for more than one-third of all homeowners liability claim dollars paid out in 2021, costing $881 million. Ohio is number eight for dog bite claims, with a total of $30.4 million paid out to Ohio claimants in 2021. Michigan ranked even higher at number five, with $43 million paid out. If you have been the victim of a dog bite, do not hesitate to contact an attorney to file a claim for compensation for your injuries.
What Do I Do After a Dog Attack?
After a dog bite, you may feel anxious, upset, scared, and confused and not know what to do or what information you will need later. The following are steps to ensure your safety and protect your right to pursue fair compensation.
Seek Medical Treatment
After a dog bite incident, make sure to wash out the wound with soap and water. You do not want to let the injury go untreated because a dog bite can quickly become infected. You might also need to get a rabies or tetanus shot if you cannot confirm that the dog is vaccinated and up to date on both.
Get the Owner’s Contact Information.
Ask the dog’s owner for their information, such as name, address, and phone number. If you are at a park, confirm the number is correct by sending a text while you are together. Ask the owner if their dog has its vaccines or if you can have their vets name to confirm which ones the dog has.
Use your cell phone to take photos of the dog that attacked or bit you and the surrounding area where the attack occurred. Take pictures of your injuries soon after the attack, so you have records that show how severe they were before they started to heal. Take photos to show how the wounds are healing and any permanent scarring left behind due to the dog bites.
Report the Attack to the Police
Call the local police to report the attack within 24 hours of when it occurred.
Who is Liable When a Dog Bite Occurs?
When a dog bite occurs the owner, keeper, or harborer of the dog may be liable for any injury, death, or loss to a person that the dog causes. Liability can fall on whoever is responsible for the dog at the time of the attack, whether it be the owner or caregiver of the dog.
While liability for injury frequently falls on the dog’s owner, there are cases when the owner is not liable. If someone is attacked by a dog while trespassing or attempting to commit a criminal offense on the owner’s property, they will not be compensated for injuries. The liability falls on the injured party when an attack occurs due to teasing, tormenting, or abusing the dog or its owner.
Common Injuries After a Dog Bite
Dog attacks and bites can vary in severity but often leave the victim seriously injured. These injuries can include:
- Broken or fractured bones
- Eye injuries/Loss of sight
- Disfiguring facial injuries
- Emotional trauma
- Wrongful death
- Muscle, tendon, and ligament damage
- Head injuries
- Loss of limb/amputation
- Infections, including staph, tetanus, and strep
- Pain and suffering
- Puncture wounds
- Scrapes, cuts, and bruises
- Nerve damage
It is in your best interest to hire an attorney to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve for your injuries, time off work, pain, and suffering. If you are concerned with the cost, the lawyers at Charles Boyk Law Offices do a free case assessment.
Can I Negotiate My Settlement When Working with an Insurance Company?
No law states that you must hire an attorney to file a claim when you are a dog bite victim, but it is not wise to try to represent yourself.
Insurance companies are not in the business of willingly awarding fair compensation. Their job is to keep the settlement as low as possible or deny the claim. The insurance company may argue against your claim using arguments such as trespassing, provocation, or assumption of risk.
Without an experienced dog bite attorney, you will end up with a low-ball settlement, if any. Once you accept and sign off on payment, there is no way to demand additional payment even if you have future related medical costs.
Benefits of Working with an Experienced Attorney
Benefits of working with a qualified attorney include:
- Assessment of liability
- Compensation that can help you get back to normal by covering all your related expenses and pain and suffering
- Knowledge of dog bite laws in Ohio and Michigan
- Negotiation skills and vast knowledge of dog bite policy coverage
- Access to resources and experts when needed
- Personal advocate
Our team will assess your case, including the circumstances and injuries you sustained when demanding compensation for your injuries. If you need future medical care or additional corrective surgeries for excessive scarring, they will request this and have the supporting data to support the request.
Let Us Help You Recover
The lawyers at Charles Boyk have one goal, to get your life back to normal. We do not stop at fighting on your behalf to bring you the compensation you deserve. We have medical professionals on staff who will assess your treatment and assist by referring you to specialists. Our goal is the “whole person” approach, meaning compensation alone is not enough to make you whole. We want our clients mentally, physically, emotionally, and financially secure when they leave our office.
Charles Boyk law offices will do a free assessment of your case, and we will advise you on the best course of action. You do not pay us anything until we collect compensation on your behalf. Contact us today to learn more.