The bite of a dog, especially a stray one, is something that happens quite often – doctors and lawyers know it all too well. Unfortunately, no matter how much you are a dog lover, you have to admit that these bites are not naive at all. Especially if more than one dog took part in the attack.
In the situation when you are bitten by a stray dog, many people go through a state of shock, they do not know that they have certain rights, and even if they do know that they have the right to compensation, they are not sure how and where to seek their rights.
According to Sierra Legal Group, a bite of a dog causes not only material damage (like torn clothes), but also leaves you with serious non-material damage in the form of mental pain, physical pain, and fear you’re left with afterward. In these cases, non-material damage is far from insignificant, since it is usually much greater than material one.
Since it can happen to almost anyone, it’s important to know how to behave and what to do in order to make the legal settlement which you are entitled to, easier. Here are 7 legal steps to take after you get bitten.
1. Stay cool
This is the first and the most important step. Even though it may not seem that connected to legal rights, you need to stay calm in order to be able to act in your best interest. By no means, do not chase the animal, even if the instinct to do so arises. It can be the cause of even more damage.
2. Seek medical attention
Even if you do not assess this as necessary, still, visit the doctor. You will need the papers given by the doctor for pursuing a settlement, later. Moreover, even if it’s not serious you are most likely to be given antibiotics to avoid infection.
3. Collect evidence
When a dog bite occurs, evidence needs to be obtained and provided, in order for your chances of getting a good settlement to increase. It is necessary to determine whether the dog has an owner, or if it’s a stray one. In the case of an owned dog, the person to be contacted for damages is the owner of the dog.
4. Turn to animal control
If you have never seen a dog, and you are not sure whether it has the owner or if it’s infected with rabies, it’s best to call animal control. They will catch it and determine if the animal is infected, or if it was vaccinated or not.
5. Report the case
Aside from animal control, you should also call the police to report the case. They will make sure no one else gets bitten. Police, although maybe not in charge of such cases, can make an official note of what happened when they go to the scene, which can later be used as evidence in the court.
6. Gather info on potential witnesses
Immediately after the bite, it is necessary to obtain on the spot information on whether another person saw the attack and information about that person such as phone number and address for possible later testimony in court.
7. Find an attorney
A lawyer who specializes in dog bites is not something that exists in practice, but most lawyers who specialize in compensation procedures and personal injuries pursuits are more than successful in dealing with these procedures. And it is definitely a smart move to contact one and to schedule a consultative meeting where a lawyer would consider whether there are conditions for pursuing a settlement and strong enough evidence that will make the settlement valid. If you have been following previous steps, no doubt your settlement will be successful.
As it was mentioned previously in the article, such attacks leave consequences that require not only physical treatment but also getting rid of the fear that settles inside a person.
Most dog lovers are left with the question – Why does a dog bite occur? What did I do to cause this?
Unfortunately, this is a question to which we will not be able to give a definite answer. It can be said that some breeds of dogs are more dangerous than others, but not with certainty. For example, for Rottweilers, Pit Bull Terriers, Stafford, the opinion is that they are more dangerous than other dogs, but again, it can also depend on how people treat them, how they are trained, how old they are, etc.
On the other hand, some data show that most bites occur from stray dogs that are of mixed breeds. The bites of these dogs are very often insidious, sudden, and followed by the escape of the dog.
Victims often have the impression that this dog may have bitten only to prove itself in front of the rest of the pack, but one can never know for sure.
What is certain is that there are a few tips you should apply when in a risky situation, to keep the likelihood of being bitten to a minimum:
- Do not approach unfamiliar dogs or a pack of dogs,
- Dogs can recognize fear, don’t run or try to run away from them, it will awaken the feeling of a hunter which will result in them having to chase you. And let’s be realistic, a dog is faster than you.
- Dogs that find themselves in a bind and danger will of course defend themselves and bite.
- Do not approach a dog that is eating, sleeping, or caring for cubs, when you do, you are putting it in danger and turning yourself into its competition.
- If it seems to you that a dog wants to bite you, stop, stiffen and do not look him directly in the eye, throw something in front of you (a bag, an umbrella, a bottle, a jacket…).
Being aware of how to act during the attack, and what to do after, will leave you regret-free.