What to do if a dog bites you: 5 mistakes you need to avoid
You probably know at least one person who is afraid of dogs. For some, being scared or weary of these furry balls of joy can seem irrational, but the truth is that being bitten by a dog can have lasting psychological effects on a person.
The CDC estimates that 4.7 million dog bites occur every year in the United States, of which 800,000 of them end up in need of medical treatment. In some cases, people have to undergo a lengthy process of treatment to respond both to physical and emotional damage.
If a dog bites you, then you have the right to proper compensation. However, many victims of these injuries can find out this process is not so straightforward as they would’ve hoped, and all because of a few widespread mistakes. So what to do if a dog bites you? Here are a few things you should do or avoid in the event of a dog bite.
Not Seeking Medical Attention
It’s imperative to go to the hospital after a dog bites you and have a doctor examine your injuries. Many people can skip this step altogether, especially if they think their injury is not serious, or the dog belongs to someone they know, and are sure they’ve vaccinated the pup.
However, even if you know for a fact the dog’s been vaccinated, and the injury doesn’t look bad, see a doctor anyway. An infection could have lasting physical and emotional effects.
Not Gathering Evidence of Your Injury
If you plan on filing a compensation claim after the attack, then you need to have the proper documentation so that you can attest to the severity of your wounds. That means taking plenty of pictures of the injury, as well as gathering your medical bills, drug prescription, or even a written statement from your doctor describing your condition.
You can also file a police report, notifying the proper authorities of the incident. That will give you a paper proof of the event, which you can later use to get a fair settlement.
Not Hiring a Lawyer
In a perfect world, you might be able to reach a fair settlement with the dog’s owner without too much hassle and put this episode behind you. Unfortunately, the world’s as imperfect as they come, and the possibility of negotiating a fair deal by yourself is minimal.
Even if the owner seems open to negotiating a fair settlement, it’s still in your best interest to hire a lawyer to represent your interests. Their experience is critical in getting the compensation you deserve, not to mention you’ll be represented adequately in any court appearance related to your case.
Talking to the Insurance Company
Assuming you don’t have an insurance policy that covers dog bites, it’s possible the owner of the dog has some coverage. Their company will try to get in contact with you and ask to give a written statement about the incident.
If and when this happens, deny their request and ask them to contact your legal representative. You can even point them towards the police statement that you’ve filled, but remember not to give them anything “on record” without your lawyer reviewing it first. Even the tiniest mistake can be interpreted, and not in your favor.
Don’t Be Eager to Settle
It’s possible you have medical bills piling up at this point. Regardless of how much you need the settlement money, try not to show it. If the other side knows you’re in need of money, they can leverage it against you and strongarm you into taking a bad deal.
These kind of claims can take months to settle, so try to hang in there and be patient.
The event of a dog bite can be scarring, but if it happens, it’s vital to remember that you deserve proper compensation. Try to avoid these five common mistakes to make sure you get it.