An unexpected dog attack can be a physically and emotionally devastating experience. Here’s what you need to know about dog attacks and personal injury claims.
Most pet owners are conscientious people who take great care in protecting their animals, including minimizing any risk that their pet may become aggressive towards another person. Still, attacks from domesticated animals do happen with one of the most common forms of aggressive behavior from pets coming in the form of a dog attack.
It’s estimated that 4.7 million dog bites occur in the United States every year, and of those, 800,000 require medical attention. Of course, the first thing you need to do if you’ve been attacked by someone’s dog is seek medical attention, but what about the aftermath? The best way to determine if you can recover damages for medical bills, lost wages, or pain and suffering, is by speaking with a personal injury lawyer today.
Understanding Personal Injury Claims and Dog Attacks
If you’ve been injured by an animal, it’s important to understand the complexities of personal injury claims and dog attacks. Injuries and damages that have occurred due to violent pet attacks make up a large portion of homeowner insurance claims. When pressed, some insurance agencies will hand over damages for a dog attack with minimal opposition. However, it’s more common that you’ll run into an insurance provider that challenges your claim – and then there are dog attacks that aren’t covered under home owner’s insurance at all.
In cases where you’re receiving a lot of pushback, or the owner of the animal wasn’t insured to provide protection against your accident, it is then time to consider filing a personal injury claim to recover damages. In most cases, a victim of a dog attack has a strong likelihood of winning a personal injury case if they can establish one or more the following:
- The attack was unprovoked
- The attack happened on public property or in a place where you could assume a reasonable expectation to not be attacked by a person’s pet
- The injuries from the attack resulted in medical treatment and possibly long term medical issues
- The pet owner was in violation of local leash laws or other ordinances that regulate how animals are to be restrained
- The dog has a previous history of aggressive behavior
- The dog is a breed that is generally considered to be aggressive – for example, a rottweiler or pit bull terrier
What to Do After a Dog Attack
If you’ve found yourself the victim of a serious injury as the result of an attack by someone’s pet, it’s important that you know what to do after a dog attack. Being the victim of an attack is a traumatizing experience, but you want to make sure that you do everything you can to ensure you recover the damages that you are rightfully owed.
For example, while you might feel a great deal of anger toward the owner of the animal, it’s important that you not react aggressively towards them. Instead, first seek emergency medical treatment and then give yourself a little space to calmly assess the situation before considering making any contact with the owner.
Secondly, file a police report right away after receiving proper medical care. Do this regardless of how much the pet owner pleads with you not to. This step not only ensures that the incident is well documented, but it also puts a buffer of legal authority between you and the pet owner. You should also take pictures of your injury for further documentation in addition to any medical records.
If the attack occurred on someone’s property, contact their insurance providers to discuss filing a claim. However, you should not provide an actual statement of the accident to them. Instead, relay that you’re not interested in providing an oral account of the incident and that you need to know what documentation they’ll need for the claim so that you and your attorney can be properly prepared when you file.
Working With a Personal Injury Attorney for Dog Attacks
Finally, one of the most important things you can do to improve your chances of recovering financial damages is to contact a personal injury attorney for dog attacks. If you’ve been a victim of the aggressive behavior of someone’s pet, including a dog attack, take the first step in protecting yourself and your financial future by contacting a personal injury attorney in Dallas today.
Attorney Zach Herbert