What NOT to do After a Dog Bite
There are few things scarier than being attacked by a dog. We frequently call dogs “man’s best friend,” but when they lash out, their bites can be brutal. Unfortunately, millions of Americans are attacked by dogs every year. Because dog bite injuries can have long-lasting health, legal and financial ramifications, it’s a good idea to educate yourself on how to handle the moments immediately following an attack. Here are a few things to avoid:
Don’t Skip Medical Attention
When you’ve suffered a dog bite injury, it’s important to seek medical attention as soon as possible. This is especially true if you’ve suffered puncture wounds and more serious types of injuries. Not all dogs are vaccinated against rabies, so it’s important to get examined by medical professionals immediately. Dog’s mouths also tend to be incredibly dirty, and wounds may become infected if not treated by a doctor.
Don’t Forget to Exchange Contact Information
We’re taught to exchange phone numbers and insurance information with the other driver after getting into an accident. When a dog bite occurs, it’s a good idea to do the same. Before you leave the scene of the attack, be sure to get the dog owner’s name, phone number, email address or home address. This information will prove vital when it comes time to verify the dog’s vaccination history.
Don’t Discount the Value of Witnesses
While you’re collecting contact information, be sure to ask witnesses for their details as well. Should there be a need for a dog bite lawsuit, eyewitness testimony can provide an accurate account of what occurred.
Don’t Be Afraid to Talk with Animal Control
Local animal control agencies work hard to prevent future dog attacks, but they can’t do so without cooperation from local residents. Their investigation into your case may help bolster your claim, so report the incident to authorities as soon as you can.
Don’t Meet with Investigators (Without Your Lawyer)
Dog bite victims are often contacted by insurance agents and investigators shortly after the attack. Some even meet with them before deciding to hire an attorney. This is always a bad idea. The insurance company is eager to goad people into making contradictory statements about the case so they can avoid paying out expensive claims. They may also try to get dog bite victims to sign away their rights to damages. Never meet with investigators without legal representation.
Don’t Accept a Quick Settlement
Some insurance companies will offer a quick settlement before the dog bite victim has a chance to speak with a lawyer. They want victims to accept smaller payments than what they deserve and be released from paying more settlement money in the future. Insurance companies are also eager to have victims sign away their rights before they release the extent of their injuries. Some dog bite injuries take months to heal from, and without a clear picture of how much treatment might cost, it’s a bad idea to settle.
Dog Bite Lawyer Richard Serpe
Virginia dog bite lawyer Richard Serpe has 34+ years of experience helping victims of personal injuries. We have helped numerous victims to get the compensation they deserve. These clients include children, adults, mail carriers, delivery drivers, joggers, pedestrians, and others. Contact Richard Serpe if you’ve been attacked by someone else’s dog.
- Named “Lawyer of the Year” by Best Lawyers for Personal Injury Litigation – Plaintiffs, Norfolk, VA (2020)
- Rated 10/10 – “Superb” by the online attorney rating service, Avvo.com
- Listed in The Best Lawyers in America ® (2006 – Present)
- Received an AV rating from the Martindale-Hubbell law directory, which is the highest given
- Named a “Super Lawyer” – among the top 5 percent of lawyers in Virginia (2006 – Present)
- Listed as a Top 100 Virginia Trial Lawyer by the National Trial Lawyers 2014