We are often taught that dogs are man’s best friend. While many dogs are great companions, some are not. More than 4.5 million people suffer a dog bite every year in the United States, according to data from the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Dog bites can be serious, causing life-long disfigurement and emotional scars that last a lifetime. After suffering a dog bite, there are immediate steps that need to be taken to ensure a victim’s well-being and safety. 

Get to a Safe Place and Call 911

After a dog bite, immediately get to a safe place as soon as possible. Do not attempt to capture the dog or provoke it any further. Go to another room or leave the establishment or residence to ensure your safety and prevent another attack.

Once in a safe location, call 911 or go to a hospital. Emergency medical services will evaluate your injury and provide the best course of action for care.

Collect Basic Evidence

“As soon as you are safe, identify the owner and collect his or her name, address, phone number, and dog vaccination records,” note dog bite lawyers at Duncan Law Group, “It is important to know who was caring for the animal when it attacked you so you know who to hold liable in your dog bite injury claim.”

If you decide to file a claim, having evidence is imperative to maximizing your financial claim. If you called the police, ensure you record the officer’s badge number and are able to get a copy of the police report.  

Seek Medical Attention

As mentioned previously, immediately seek medical attention, either by calling 911 or going to the emergency room. Dog bites can result in infections, especially if the dog was not up to date on vaccinations. Seeking medical attention immediately can help treat the wound and treat any potential infections, such as a Capnocytogphaga or rabies. 

If left untreated, an infection from an unattended dog bite could cause serious complications, amputation, or even death. 

Contact an Attorney

After suffering a dog bite or dog attack, you may want to explore your options for justice and compensation. Meeting with an experienced dog bite attorney can help you explore your legal options and evaluate what compensation may be available to you. 

Some of the damages you may be able to recover compensation for include:

  • Economic Damages – This type of damages refers to tangible losses, such as past and future medical expenses, as well as claim wage-related losses.
  • Non-Economic Damages – This type of damages refers to mental and physical suffering, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), as well as the emotional impact of disability or disfigurement.
  • Punitive Damages – While rare, punitive damages can be awarded if a person, party, or organization was particularly negligent or intentional. In some cases, punitive damages are capped.

How Long Do I Have to File a Claim for my Dog Bite?

The time period following a serious dog attack may be filled with doctor’s appointments, surgeries, physical therapy and psychological treatment. You may not consider filing an injury claim right away. 

Depending on the statute of limitation laws in your state, a dog bite victim typically has two years to file a claim against the responsible person or party if the circumstances of the dog attack qualifies for a case.

Moving Forward After a Dog Bite

Dog bites occur more often than people think. Dog bite victims can have life-long effects, from emotional anguish to disfigurement, that can influence their everyday experiences. 

Knowing what to do after a dog bite or dog attack can improve your chances of recovery both physically, emotionally, and financially. Stay aware and stay informed!