Dogs might be man’s best friend, but that doesn’t mean they can’t hurt you or someone you love. After all, they are animals, and we don’t speak their language. If they’re scared, feel threatened, or get over-excited, they may bite. In fact, according to WebMD, “dogs bite about 4.7 million Americans every year, half of them children between ages 5 and 9.” A dog bite injury could result in permanent scarring, nerve damage, or visible disfigurement. It’s a traumatic event that can require counseling to overcome. And depending on the injury, it could require unpaid time off to heal and recover.
The reality is that some dog bites require legal action to resolve. If the injuries are minor, a court case probably won’t be necessary. But where serious injuries are involved, a lawsuit might be the best path forward to ensure a person recovers physically, emotionally, and financially.
Homeowners insurance policies are usually the ones that pay for an injury settlement arising from a dog bite. But, insurance companies often offer an initial settlement that is insufficient to cover the actual damages. This is normal. And this is why negotiating a settlement for a dog bite injury is best handled by an experienced lawyer who has worked with insurance companies and has your best interests in mind.
If the unthinkable happens, and someone you love gets bitten by a dog, what should you do?
Before doing anything else, take care of the wound. If the dog doesn’t belong to you or someone you know, if your wounds are deep and you can’t stop the bleeding, or if you see any signs of infection, see a doctor immediately. But if the wounds are minor, carefully clean and cover the wound, and you may be able to care for them yourself.
If you know the owner, find out if the dog is up-to-date on its vaccinations, especially rabies.
Dog owners are generally held liable if their pet hurts someone or causes an injury. This means that the owners (or their insurance company), may have to pay damages for:
Again, if the injuries are minor, a court case probably won’t be necessary. But it doesn’t hurt to get a legal opinion. If you or someone you know was bitten by a dog and you’re wondering how to proceed, give us a call. The consultation is free, even if you decide to work with someone else or decide that no legal action is necessary. So call us today!