What To Do After a Dog Bite

If you or somebody you love has been bitten and injured by a dog, you may be wondering what steps to take next. The reality is that most people never think about getting bitten by “man’s best friend.” Unfortunately, dog bite injuries are not uncommon in California and throughout the United States. In fact, studies from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have shown that as many as 4.5 million people are bitten by dogs each year in this country. Approximately 800,000 of these bite victims need to seek medical treatment. Here, we want to discuss the steps that you need to take after you or a loved one has been bitten by a dog. Read on to learn what to do after a dog bite and if you have any further questions about filing an injury claim, speak with an Irvine dog bite attorney.

Seek Medical Care Immediately

It is absolutely crucial for a dog bite injury victim to seek medical care as soon as an injury occurs. Even if the dog bite injury does not seem serious, the person bitten needs to go to the doctor or the emergency room. Even a seemingly minor bite could result in an infection that affects the whole body. However, we know that some dog bite injuries can be incredibly severe and include the following:

  • Significant blood loss
  • Severed arteries, veins, muscles, or tendons
  • Amputated fingers
  • Crushed bones
  • Skin avulsions
  • Severe lacerations or puncture wounds

Report the Incident

As much as a dog bite injury victim may not want to do so, it is essential that they report the incident to police or animal control. Not only is this the best way to get the incident on record to have proof for insurance carriers, but this can also help ensure that any potentially dangerous dog is evaluated. You can quickly find your local animal control number by doing a Google search. If the incident is an emergency, dial 911 and let the police handle the incident.

File a Claim With the Insurance Carrier

The vast majority of dog bite injury claims are resolved through settlements with the homeowners insurance carrier of the dog owner. Most homeowners insurance carriers will pay for dog bite claims, but there are some exceptions to this. In some cases, a dog owner will have to opt-in to this type of coverage with their carrier. Additionally, some homeowners insurance carriers do not cover certain breeds.

If, for whatever reason, the homeowners insurance carrier of the dog owner denies a claim, it will be necessary for the dog bite victim to file a lawsuit against the dog owner.

Keep Deadlines in Mind

In California, the personal injury statute of limitations is two years from the date an injury occurs. Even though most dog bite injury incidents will be covered by homeowners insurance carrier settlements, any lawsuit that is necessary needs to be filed within two years from the date the injury occurs. Failing to file a claim within this time frame will result in the victim being unable to recover the compensation they deserve.

Work With an Attorney

One of the best ways to ensure that a dog bite injury victim is being treated fairly is for them to secure assistance from a skilled personal injury attorney. When an attorney gets involved, they will be the ones to handle every aspect of the claim. The attorney will use their resources to fully investigate the incident, determine liability, and negotiate with aggressive insurance carriers. If necessary, an attorney will handle filing a personal injury lawsuit in court and present the case to a jury.