Having dogs can benefit you in many ways. These furry friends keep you company when you’re lonely, double as your running buddy to keep you in shape, and even become your loyal pal until the end. They make excellent home pets and farm helps. They can even serve alongside law enforcers to protect you and the community.
But, just like any animal, its gentle nature can change. Dogs can get triggered and become aggressive even through no fault of your own. It may startle you with a loud bark, but there could be times when it can cause more severe injuries.
A dog’s strong legs can topple you over and sprain your ankle. It can lunge at you and have you land face-first on the concrete or the sidewalk. Sharp claws can scratch your arms or face. Worse, it could give no warning until you feel its teeth on your clothes and skin. Dogs can also chase after bikes, motorcycles, and cars that may result in injury or even death to drivers and passengers.
Dog injuries, no matter how small they may seem, cannot be ignored. Knowing what to do when a dog bites or hurts you can not only save your life but support your claims should you decide to go to court.
According to Oklahoma-based Dogbite Safety, dog bites are the fifth leading cause of hospital emergency room visits. About 10,000 to 13,000 get hospitalized each year. Of this, 30 to 50 people end up dying.
Dog injuries may range from minor scratches to deep wounds. Here are the things you would need to do in case you get bitten by a dog:
- Seek Medical Attention
Open wounds are prone to infection and rabies. You should seek medical help immediately. Wounds also need to be monitored until they’re completely healed. It’s also best to keep a medical record and copies of hospital bills.
- Obtain Dog And Owner Information
After the incident, ask the dog owner and the caretaker for their names and contact information. You can also verify if the dog was vaccinated for rabies. Also, inquire if their pet insurance has a third-party liability to cover your claims.
- Report The Incident
Apart from contacting owners or caretakers, you would also need to report the incident to animal control authorities. They can pick up the dog to check if it’s rabid and quarantine the animal as necessary. You can even verify with the authorities if there are similar incidents with the dog in the past that can strengthen your injury claim.
- Contact A Dog Bite Attorney
If you find yourself a dog bite victim in Oklahoma, you can consult lawyers to assess your dog-related injury case. They can use the documents you gathered and even help produce additional proof to substantiate your claims. They can provide competent assistance with local state laws and help determine the compensation you deserve.
Bites are not the only ways dogs can cause harm. Encounters can result in sharp falls or even car accidents. Aside from the ones mentioned above, you would also need to obtain the following to show the extent of your dog-related injuries:
- Document The Incident
Take photos of the dog or the area where the incident happened. You can include details such as an open gate, a hole in the fence, or a sidewalk. You also need to take photos of your visible injuries as proof of the accident.
Apart from photos, journal entries that describe the event in detail can help inform authorities about what happened. To receive proper compensation, you’d need to include hospital bills, medical records, lost wages, and even travel costs.
- Obtain Witnesses
Persons who saw the incident and are willing to provide accounts are considered witnesses. You’d need their statements to back up your story and refute the owner’s version of the incident. Witness statements are also helpful for insurance claims and if you decide to take legal action.
- Record Correspondences
Keep a record of all the correspondences you receive regarding the incident. You can communicate with witnesses, negotiate with dog owners, or with insurance adjusters. These records can build your case and help you receive the compensation you deserve.
Dog bites can pose risks to your health and safety. Seeking medical help can help eliminate possible signs of infection and rabies. While minor wounds may require a trip to the local clinic or the ER, severe injuries may require hospitalization. These not only bring pain but can also translate to lost hours and income. It may even be so severe that it could lead to decreased mobility or even disability.
Keeping pertinent documents and correspondences with witnesses can help you file for insurance claims or lawsuits. It’s also best to partner with experienced injury lawyers to receive compensation for dog-related injuries.