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What to Do After a Dog Bite - The Most Important Steps

Updated: Aug 31, 2021


While most dogs are happy to provide endless love and companionship, even the gentlest canine can react aggressively under certain circumstances. Unfortunately, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association, more than 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs each year in the United States. Since dog bite injuries can have significant physical, emotional, financial, and legal consequences, it’s important to know what to do after a dog bite.

First Steps - What to Do After a Dog Bite: Seek Medical Care: Seeking medical care may seem like an obvious step. However, some people may be overwhelmed, not thinking clearly, and assume that their injury is not significant enough. Keep in mind, some dogs are not vaccinated against rabies, and puncture wounds can become infected easily. And before you are treated, if possible, take pictures of your wounds to document the injury more accurately. Exchange Information With the Dog Owner: Just as you would after a car accident, you should exchange information with the dog’s owner so you can easily contact them after the incident and verify the dog’s vaccination history.

Secure Witnesses: Whether you were bitten or your dog bit someone else, be sure to get contact information for anyone who witnessed the incident. If there is a need for an insurance claim or lawsuit, eyewitness accounts can provide a more accurate picture of what happened. Notify Animal Control: Filing a report with your local animal control agency is crucial in helping to prevent future dog bites. Their investigation into the incident may help with your insurance claim or case. Documenting a Dog Bite In addition to the first steps mentioned above, knowing how to document the incident is very important. First, document the injuries in photos, journal entries, medical records, and/or other written records. Note the visible injuries and the effects of those injuries, such as pain, mobility issues, and inability to perform certain functions. Also, write down the events and circumstances surrounding the bite providing as much detail as you can remember. If you are dealing with an insurance company or a lawsuit, it’s a good idea to document all communication you have with others, including witnesses and the insurance company representatives. Also, keep records of expenses you acquire due to the dog bite, such as medical bills and lost wages—the more documentation, the better in the long run. Contact a Dog Bite Attorney

Since canine bites are a common occurrence, there are attorneys with comprehensive experience handling dog bite insurance claims and lawsuits. At Williams DeLoatche, P.C., our attorneys are well-versed in handling dog bite cases. We have extensive experience dealing with the other party’s insurance company and negotiating a settlement. We keep focused on the main goal of ensuring you are justly compensated so you have the opportunity to recover fully. While the insurance companies have plenty of experience getting people to accept low settlement offers, our team is very familiar with the tactics used by insurance companies and other lawyers and knows the best arguments and evidence to use to obtain a fair settlement. To increase your chances of a successful personal injury lawsuit, contact Williams DeLoatche, P.C., to speak directly to one of our lawyers, 757-547-5555.