When you think of dangerous animal attacks, what comes to mind? Maybe it’s a ferocious shark, bloodthirsty bear, or vicious snake bite. However, few of us consider that our biggest threat may be lurking on nearby streets, parks, or someone else’s home.
Statistics show that dog bites account for more than 50,000 hospital visits in the country every year, and victims often suffer serious injuries and severe health complications. Permanent scarring and disfigurement aren’t uncommon consequences of these violent attacks, and even minor injuries can lead to astronomical healthcare costs.
Fortunately, you may be able to file a personal injury case against the animal’s owner to obtain a payout for many of your losses stemming from this traumatic incident. However, a payout is never a foregone conclusion, and your success—or failure—can depend on the actions you take in the weeks following the attack.
Let’s look at a few common errors you should avoid if you’re planning to seek compensation:
Mistake #1: Failing to Seek Medical Attention
While you might’ve been able to pick yourself up after the attack, it’s still important that you seek medical treatment immediately. Dog’s mouths contain harmful bacteria that can cause even the smallest bites to become infected. As such, a prompt diagnosis could help prevent further health complications by ensuring your condition doesn’t worsen.
Additionally, visiting the doctor will also arm you with a paper trail of evidence that could help tie your injuries to the attack. It’s possible that opposing parties might assert that you suffered your wounds in a separate incident, so your medical records will probably play a crucial role in mitigating such disputes.
Mistake #2: Not Reporting the Attack
It’s essential that you report the incident to the appropriate authorities such as a local animal control agency or police department. Officials will usually compile a report which could be useful to your attorney’s investigation into the incident as it may contain information about the dog that attacked you, the pet’s owner, and other important details. An animal control agency may also choose to evaluate the animal and, if necessary, quarantine the dog for rabies testing.
Mistake #3: Failing to Gather Evidence
While pet owners are held strictly liable for any harm caused by their animals—i.e., they will still be on the hook for your damages even if their pet has no history of violent behavior—they may attempt to assert that you provoked their dog or were trespassing when you were bitten.
Proof such as photographs of the area where you were attacked, surveillance camera footage of the incident itself, or eyewitness accounts of this traumatic event can help counter such defenses. However, much of the proof you might need could be time-sensitive, so it’s important to collect as much evidence as you can before it’s no longer available.
Mistake #4: Speaking to Opposing Parties
Whether the dog’s owner or their insurer attempts to contact you, you should not give them any statements. Anything you say on record could be used to challenge your credibility, so these parties may make use of any opportunity they can to elicit potentially damaging comments. Once you’ve hired an attorney, you should let them handle all correspondence so that you don’t have to worry about saying something that might otherwise hurt your case.
Discuss Your Case with a Detroit Dog Accident Attorney
If you or someone you know was injured in an animal attack, it’s important to take the necessary steps to protect your health and legal rights. It might be wise to enlist the help of a skilled personal injury lawyer who can guide you through proceedings, assist in gathering important evidence, and provide aggressive representation throughout proceedings.
At Seva Law Firm, our attorneys are dedicated to fighting for our clients’ rights and helping them recover fair compensation in the wake of an animal attack. Call us today at (248) 385-5704 or send us a message via our contact form HERE to request a free case review with a Detroit personal injury attorney.