Dogs are usually docile, playful, and loyal, but some canines can turn violent without warning. Every year, thousands of Americans are injured in violent encounters with these popular household pets. The victims often suffer debilitating injuries and are left to face a host of unexpected challenges, complications, and costs.
If you were bitten by a dog, you are probably thinking of filing a claim against the animal’s owner to recover compensation for the losses you’ve suffered. However, before jumping into this complex process, it’s important to understand how your actions could affect the outcome of your case.
In this article, we list a few do’s and don’ts you should follow if you’re planning to take action after an animal attack:
Do Get a Prompt Diagnosis
Dog’s mouths are teeming with harmful bacteria which can cause even minor bites to fester and become infected. As such, you should always visit a doctor after an animal attack to get treatment before your condition worsens.
Scheduling a medical assessment will also ensure that you have access to medical records documenting your injuries. If you sought treatment within a reasonable timeframe, such documents could also help tie your condition to the attack.
Don’t Forget to Preserve Evidence
In Detroit, dog owners are held strictly liable for any harm their pets cause regardless of whether the animal has a history of aggressive behavior or not. However, in a bid to minimize their liability, the owner may claim you were trespassing on private property when you were bitten, or that you deliberately incited the attack by provoking their pet.
Fortunately, there are many types of evidence you can gather to counter such defenses. For instance, eyewitness statements can help corroborate your version of events, while photographs of the area where you were attacked could make it clear that you weren’t trespassing. Other types of proof that might be useful to your case could include official police incident reports, surveillance camera footage, and expert witness deposition.
Do Reach Out to an Attorney
Dog bite cases can be incredibly complex, so it’s wise to hire someone with experience handling similar claims. A skilled attorney can help guide you through proceedings, overseeing the logistics of your case such as investigating the attack, gathering the necessary evidence, and approximating fair compensation for your damages. He or she will also represent you during settlement negotiations, litigation, and trial.
Don’t Ignore Your Doctor’s Orders
While you might think you have an open-and-shut case, even if it’s clear the dog’s owner is in the wrong, your financial award could be reduced if it emerges that your own negligence contributed to your damages in any way.
For instance, if your doctor instructed you to take time off work to let your injuries heal but you still clocked in the next day, opposing parties might have room to argue that your own actions aggravated your injuries. Alternatively, if you posted about the attack online, the owner may be able to use your comments to challenge your credibility—especially if you said something inaccurate or untrue.
Discuss Your Case with a Dog Bite Attorney in Detroit
Were you injured in an animal attack? Turn to the legal team at Seva Law Firm to discuss your options for seeking compensation. We can assess every aspect of your situation to help you determine your next best steps. Dial (248) 385-5704 or jump to our contact page HERE to request a free case review with a Detroit personal injury lawyer.