Adults and especially children suffer dog bites every year, and National statistics show that about 800,000 dog bite injuries require professional medical attention annually. A dog bite that causes someone to incur medical bills and lose income warrants consultation with a Las Vegas personal injury attorney. Compensation may be recoverable from the dog owner or insurer.
Infection is a serious risk for dog bite victims, who may sometimes require treatment with intravenous antibiotics. Nasty bacteria, like staphylococcus, streptococcus, and pasteurella, are common in dogs’ mouths. For this reason, you should take immediate steps to clean the wound and learn who owns the dog.
Make Medical Care a Priority
You might succeed in tending to a minor dog bite with at-home first aid. Wash the wound and apply antibiotic ointment. You may need to bandage it with sterile bandaging for a few days while you check for signs of infection.
A more concerning wound requires going to an urgent care clinic or emergency department immediately. A doctor can clean the wound more thoroughly and prescribe antibiotics needed for deeper wounds. In some cases, stitches are necessary.
Be sure to explain to the doctor what you know about the dog. The doctor will want to know if it was vaccinated for rabies. If this information cannot be found, then you may need painful rabies treatments.
Follow your doctor’s aftercare instructions. This is not only important for your health and comfort, but compliance with medical orders will aid a dog bite attorney who is negotiating a settlement for your damages.
Find Out Information About the Dog
Identifying the dog and who is responsible for the animal is of the utmost importance. A personal injury lawyer in Las Vegas will need to investigate the animal and the owner to see if there are previous complaints about the dog’s aggressiveness. Additionally, the dog owner could have a homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policy to pay some or all of the damages.
If you could not ascertain who owned the dog when you were attacked, any information you can provide will be helpful. A description of the dog and its breed, as well as the location of the attack, could enable a dog bite attorney to track down the owner or help animal control find a stray.
Gather the Dog Owner’s Information
If you find the dog’s owner, write down that person’s name, telephone number, and address. Ask for details about the person’s insurance policy, specifically the insurer’s name and policy number. A dog bite lawyer will inquire about available coverage when evaluating your case.
Get Statements From Witnesses
People who saw the dog attack could provide valuable information that supports your version of events. Injury lawyers in Las Vegas use testimony from witnesses to strengthen their clients’ claims for damages. Witnesses are generally willing to help when someone gets hurt. Ask them to provide their contact information and a short statement about the dog attack.
Report the Attack to Local Animal Control
Inform the animal control department that handles the area where the dog attack occurred about what happened to you. A police department usually includes an animal control unit, but it could also be managed by a city or county government.
Filing a report is vital because the animal might have a prior aggressive incident on the record. This would help you establish that the dog owner knew the animal could be a menace. Once the animal is identified, it could be tested for rabies, which will be very important to your medical treatment plan.
Document the Accident and Your Expenses
Personal injury claims depend heavily on documentation about what happened and the expenses that resulted from the accident or attack. Injury lawyers in Las Vegas use documentation to prove the value of your insurance claim or lawsuit.
To document your case:
- Take pictures of your injuries. Images powerfully communicate the pain and suffering that you experienced.
- Keep copies of all medical records and bills.
- Note all travel expenses for attending medical appointments.
- Record if you needed to pay for extra childcare while you were hurt.
- Mark all missed days from work on a calendar and other lost income.
What to Do If Contacted by Pet Owner’s Insurer
The dog owner’s insurer may contact you. Proceed carefully with this conversation. The insurer will likely hope to get you to admit liability or accept a low settlement offer. Keep in mind that you may not know the full extent of your financial damages until you have fully recovered from your wound. You would want to establish the true value of your claim in consultation with a Las Vegas personal injury attorney who knows what damages you have a right to claim.
When contacted by an insurer:
- Do not allow the conversation to be recorded.
- Do not mention who is responsible.
- Do not agree to make an appointment.
- Do not agree to write a statement about what happened.
However, you may ask the insurer for identifying information, such as:
- Name of company
- Name of policy holder
- Address and telephone number of company
Talk to a Dog Bite Lawyer
Darren J. Lach exclusively represents injury victims. Although a dog bite might seem like a clear-cut case, legal representation is always essential for avoiding insurance company pitfalls meant to reduce your payout. For a free consultation about your dog bite, contact Lach Injury Law today.