Dogs are extremely popular pets in the United States. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) estimates there are as many as 80 million dogs being kept as pets. Most of them are friendly creatures, but there are times when even a friendly dog may bite a human.
The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) reports around 4.5 million dog bites happen in the United States each year, with some 800,000 of those bites requiring medical attention. If you've been bitten by a dog, it's important you protect your legal rights. If the injuries are severe, seek medical attention immediately. Take the following steps after a dog bite to document what happened.
- Identify the dog that bit you: For both legal and medical reasons, it is critical to identify the dog that bit you. You must know which dog was responsible so its record of rabies shots can be confirmed. The dog may also need to be tested for rabies. If the dog is a stray or hasn't had its shots, you may need to be treated for rabies, which can be a very painful process. If possible, the dog should be quarantined until medical and legal issues are resolved.
- Identify the owner of the dog: It is also essential you identify the owner of the dog that bit you. Get owners' names, addresses, and phone numbers, plus information on the dog's medical background and history of behavior. Also check to see if the dog is insured and get all the necessary insurance company details, such as company name, contact information, and policy numbers.
- Get names and addresses of witnesses: Find out if anyone saw the bite happen and get their contact information, including names, addresses, and phone numbers. Information they can provide about the incident may be needed by the police, medical care providers, insurance companies, or your legal representative.
- Photograph the bite wounds: Document the bite wounds with photographs. This important step helps establish where the bite occurred, how severe it was, and what long-term effects there may be. For example, dog bite injuries to the face may require reconstructive surgery in the future.
- Report the bite to the appropriate animal control agency: Contact the agency responsible for animal control in your area and report the bite. Your report could provide extremely useful information, especially if the dog that bit you has a history of being aggressive or if the owner has been unwilling to properly control the dog.
If you've been bitten by a dog, you deserve compensation for the pain and suffering you've endured. The experts at Greenman, Goldberg, Raby and Martinez can help you with your case. Contact us at 702-388-4476 to schedule a free consultation.