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Top Five Mistakes People Make After a Dog Bite

May 18, 2024

Dogs are our beloved pets and feel like furry family members, but they are also animals with sharp, jagged teeth, strong jaws, and motives humans can’t always predict or understand. When a dog attacks and bites, it’s one of the most terrifying and traumatic experiences a person can suffer. Dog bites are prone to infection, and cause deep punctures, torn flesh, and extensive scarring. According to statistics, as many as 13,000 people are hospitalized each year from dog bite injuries.

It’s difficult to keep a cool head after a painful dog bite, but the steps you take, or neglect to take, after the attack can improve the outcome of your physical and financial recovery later, or make it more difficult to recover your losses. Avoiding these five common errors after a dog attack helps safeguard your physical and financial well-being.

seattle dog bite lawyer

1. Failing to Seek Immediate Medical Care

After a dog attack, injuries range from mild to severe. If the bites seem mild, many dog bite victims make the mistake of avoiding a trip to the emergency room, believing they can treat the injuries at home. A dog’s mouth carries bacteria that can cause serious infections. In addition, when a dog attacks, it often results in a fall with bruises and soft tissue injuries that show themselves later when the adrenaline of the attack wears off.

Always seek medical attention immediately after the dog attack and undergo a complete evaluation. Any dog bite that breaks the skin requires monitoring for infection. Going to a hospital directly from the scene of the attack provides evidence of damages in a claim for economic and non-economic damages later. In the event you were severely injured due to a dog bite, call our personal injury lawyers in Seattle today.

2. Failing to Report the Dog Bite

Victims of dog bites, or any attack by an aggressive dog, should report the attack to the police and their local animal control office. Not only does this put the attack on record, but it also alerts local authorities to the presence of an aggressive dog in the area that could potentially injure someone else.

If a dog bite victim doesn’t report the attack, it makes it difficult or impossible to file a compensation claim later if they seek to recover compensation for medical expenses or pain and suffering.

3. Failing to Document the Incident With Photos

After a dog bite, a camera makes a convenient tool to document evidence of the attack, but in the trauma following dog bites, many victims don’t think to use their cell phones to document evidence. Taking photos of the dog, the location of the attack, and visible injuries helps a claim to recover compensation later. A dog bite victim can also use a cell phone to add the contact information of eyewitnesses to the attack.

4. Admitting Fault After the Attack

Despite the pain and trauma of suffering dog bites, many injury victims make remarks that may later be interpreted as admitting fault. Saying things like, “I’m sorry,” “I shouldn’t have tried to pet him,” or even a simple, “Don’t worry, I’m okay,” may be taken out of context later and used against the victim as an admission of fault or as “evidence” that they weren’t injured, even if their injuries had delayed symptom onset or weren’t immediately evident during the adrenaline rush.

5. Speaking to the Insurance Company Before Hiring an Attorney

In most states, dog owners bear strict liability for their pet’s actions. The pet owner’s property liability insurance must provide compensation to the injury victim. However, insurance companies sometimes dispute claims or offer fast settlements for significantly less than the claim is worth. Accepting an early settlement requires signing away the right to a lawsuit.

After a dog bite, it’s always best to hire a Seattle dog bite lawyer and direct all communication with the insurance company to your lawyer.

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