According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, about 800,000 people are bitten by dogs so severely that the bites require medical attention.
The people most vulnerable to dog bites are children, and you guessed it, postal workers.
This means that every year, there are around 800,000 people that could make a personal injury claim because of their dog bite.
In most instances, there's no way to know what your dog bite claim will be worth until the facts have been investigated.
Liability will have to be established, and in most cases, your medical treatment will need to be concluded.
Because of all the moving parts, there is a lot of room for error that can affect your legal rights if you're bitten by a dog and want to pursue a personal injury case.
Below are five things you need to do immediately after you've been bitten by a dog.
1. Seek Medical Treatment Right Away
A big misconception many people have is that their dog bite injury isn't severe.
That usually isn't the case.
In many cases, you can't be absolutely sure the dog doesn't have rabies. That's a condition that can not be treated lightly.
Even if the dog doesn't have rabies, the dog's mouth can contain bacteria that can cause serious infections that will spread quickly through your body.
If you seek medical attention right way, the medical staff will close and clean the open wound caused by the bite.
This will significantly lessen the chance for infection, and they can also administer the first round of rabies vaccinations if necessary.
You can also start to establish the link between the dog bite and your injury, and collect documentation supporting your claim.
2. Always Report The Bite
This is the biggest issue.
Sometimes you know the dog and the owner, and you're close with them, so you don't report the bite.
Or you can be so traumatized after the bite that you don't think to notify the police or animal control.
No matter what the reasoning, you need to report the bite no matter what the circumstances.
Many times the owner of the dog will beg you not to report the bite and promise to pay for all the medical bills.
Good luck holding them to their word.
Telling the authorities right away allows the incident to be well documented, and helps build your case.
Once you've notified the authorities, an investigation can be opened to establish liability.
3. Avoid The Insurance Companies
If you have to talk to any insurance companies, it's best to have a lawyer with you to help you out.
All insurance adjusters are skilled at grilling claimants for information that they can use against them.
And you can't blame them, because it's their job to save their company as much money as possible.
Any statement an insurance adjuster gets from you can be used against you down the road.
Be careful what you say, and ask your lawyer for help.
4. Take Pictures Of The Injury
By the time your personal injury claim is taken to court or settled, your injury will likely already be healed.
That's why taking pictures of the injury as soon as it happens is extremely important.
You need to be sure everyone realizes the full extent of your injury, and medical records alone are unlikely to do that.
Good pictures of your dog bite injury can show the jury how serious the injury was, and help them imagine the pain it must have caused.
A good picture will also give the jury, and your insurance adjuster, a good idea of how long it must've taken the injury to heal.
5. Get A Good Attorney
For some reason, most people never think to contact a lawyer after their dog bite injury.
They think they can settle their claim without representation.
That's rarely the case.
Throughout the duration of your case, you will be going against trained professionals.
Insurance companies are excellent at settling claims for less than they're worth.
You will also be on your own going up against trained negotiators.
This typically leads to people accepting settlements that they think are good, but don't take into account the full extent of the damages.
Your insurance company will likely try to pressure you into settling your claim quickly before the full extent of the injury is realized.
That's why having a good attorney on your side, fighting with you, is absolutely critical.
Your attorney will be knowledgable about your local dog bite laws and will be able to negotiate on your behalf.
Your lawyer will be sure your insurance company offers you a fair settlement, and if they don't, they will represent you in court.
Is It Time To Contact A Lawyer?
If you've been the victim of a dog bite, and you haven't reached out to a lawyer yet, it may be time to do so.
Having a lawyer help you through the entire process will make your life much easier, and it will ensure you get what you deserve.
Just click the button below to get started.